U.S. Stocks May Extend Yesterday’s Late-Day Sell-Off

Following the sell-off seen late in the previous session, stocks may see some further downside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a moderately lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 86 points.

Lingering concerns about new restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may continue to weigh on Wall Street.

Positive news about a potential coronavirus vaccine helped to drive the Dow and the S&P 500 to record highs earlier this week, but the recent surge in new cases has led to a pullback since then.

A number of states have announced stricter restrictions, including closing schools and some businesses, leading to worries about an economic downturn in the months leading up to the widespread distribution of a vaccine.

Adding to the negative sentiment, the Labor Department recently released a report showing an unexpected rebound in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 14th.

The Labor Department said jobless claims climbed to 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 711,000.

The rebound came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 707,000 from the 709,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The unexpected increase came after the previous week saw jobless claims fall to their lowest level since before the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of October.

Economists expected existing home sales to slump by 1.2 percent in October after spiking by 9.4 percent in September.

The Conference Board is also due to release its report on leading economic indicators in the month of October. The leading economic index is expected to climb by 0.7 percent.

After turning in a lackluster performance for much of the session, stocks came under pressure in the latter part of the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages slid firmly into negative territory after lingering near the unchanged line earlier in the day.

The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the day near their lows of the session. The Dow tumbled 344.93 points or 1.2 percent to 29,438.42, the Nasdaq slid 97.74 points or 0.8 percent to 11,801.60 and the S&P 500 slumped 41.74 points or 1.2 percent to 3,567.79.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in yet another mixed performance on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index have all slid by 0.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.24 to $41.58 a barrel after rising $0.39 to $41.82 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after falling $11.20 to $1,873.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are plunging $22.10 to $1,851.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 104.03 yen versus the 103.82 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1834 compared to yesterday’s $1.1853.

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