Wall Street set to open lower on rising virus cases, elevated jobless claims

U.S. stock futures fell on Thursday as an uptick in COVID-19 infections in parts of the United States threatened to upend bets of a swift economic recovery, with data showing that weekly jobless claims remained elevated.

Traders exit the 11 Wall St. door of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Several U.S. states including Texas, Florida and Oklahoma have reported a surge in new infections. However, President Donald Trump said late on Wednesday the United States would not close businesses again.

“Without a vaccination or solution to this healthcare problem, it’s going to continue to create economic problems even though the data has probably bottomed in the United States and China,” said Nate Fischer, chief investment strategist of Strategic Wealth Partners, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Labor Department’s report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 1.508 million for the week ended June 13, the eleventh straight weekly drop.

“It’s off a very low base, so the numbers have done better than expected, but the risk-reward profile right now is not that favorable given how far we have run off the bottom,” Fischer said.

The S&P 500 .SPX is about 8% below its February all-time high, while the Nasdaq .IXIC is about 1.7% below a June 10 peak.

At 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 239 points, or 0.91%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 22.25 points, or 0.72% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 17.5 points, or 0.18%.

Carnival Corp (CCL.N) fell 7.9% in premarket trading after reporting a quarterly net loss of $4.4 billion and warning of a loss for the rest of the year after the pandemic brought its cruise business to an effective standstill.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N) dropped 4.5% and 5.1%, respectively.

U.S. supermarket chain Kroger Co (KR.N) shares fell 1.3% even as it said it expected to exceed its 2020 outlook for same-store sales and profit after beating Wall Street targets for quarterly results.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur