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Stock market news live updates: Stock futures dip ahead of Powell in Jackson Hole; jobless claims rise anew

Stock futures were lower Thursday after another record-setting session for each of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Wednesday. Market participants looked ahead to commentary on the economy from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, with a highly anticipated set of remarks set for Thursday morning.

Advances in tech stocks powered the broader market to its fourth straight record closing high, with the S&P 500 now tracking toward a more than 6% monthly gain in August, and the Nasdaq poised for an 8.5% advance. Each of Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Alphabet (GOOGGOOGL) posted their highest-ever closing levels. Salesforce (CRM), fresh off a quarter of record sales and the announcement of its inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, surged 26%.

On Thursday, investors received the latest dour read on the jobs market, as another 1 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment insurance benefits last week. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic continue to reverberate across the economy, with the report showing back-to-back weeks that jobless claims topped the 1 million mark, following a brief break below that level earlier in August.

Looking ahead, market participants are gearing up to receive remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the central bank’s annual monetary policy symposium. The event – virtual this year instead of at its usual venue in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – will set the stage for Powell to discuss bankers’ current economic outlook given the coronavirus pandemic, and provide an update on the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Framework Review.

Economists have already begun to speculate as to the Federal Reserve’s conclusion and action plan in the wake of the review, with some expected the Fed to offer only a “deliberately vague” framework to bump inflation closer to their 2% target. The review captured about two years’ worth of research, discussions and Fed Listens events, primarily serving to inform the Fed’s approach to inflation following years of core inflationary metrics undershooting goals.

“We believe that the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] is poised to deliver important new information about the forthcoming conclusion of the inflation framework review, and that information will convey that the Committee is on the precipice of shifting to a flexible average inflation targeting approach and, recognizing the challenges and drawbacks of specifying a fixed lookback period, the FOMC will aim for near 2% inflation, on average, over the business cycle,” Morgan Stanley economist Ellen Zetner said in a note Wednesday.

“The framework opens up another runway for the FOMC to deliver new forward guidance in December, in our view, and that guidance will likely indicate that the Fed will maintain interest rates in the current target range until inflation sustainably reaches 2% in the context of a broad labor market recovery that is consistent with the FOMC’s maximum employment goal,” Zetner added.

8: 30 a.m. ET: Jobless claims match expectations

Another 1 million workers filed for unemployment benefits in the latest week, Labor Department data showed, which met expectations. While the numbers didn’t surprise to the upside, at least, it underscores just how weak the labor market remains — and the distance the economy has to travel to make up for staggering job losses.

Stock futures are modestly in the red, pointing to a lower opening on Wall Street as the market awaits Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on the economy.

7: 14 a.m. ET Thursday: Stocks point to a lower open ahead of Powell’s Jackson Hole remarks

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,473.25, down 7 points or 0.2%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 28,238.00, down 74 points or 0.26%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F):  11,968.25, down 23 points, or 0.19%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.13 (-0.30%) to $43.26 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$6.80 (-0.35%) to $1,945.70 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.7 bps to yield 0.68%

6: 03 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures tick down as late trading kicks off

Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6: 14 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,477.25, down 3 points or 0.09%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 28,297.00, down 15 points or 0.05%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F):  11,977.75, down 13.5 points, or 0.11%

A trader laughs on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 24, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)

A trader laughs on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 24, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES BUSINESS)

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