On Thursday U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower open, with losses accelerating after the government released higher than expected initial jobless claims. A renewed tech stock sell-off pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average down nearly 2% and the S&P 500 more than 2% lower Wednesday.
The Nasdaq was the big loser, plunging 3% and going back into a correction, down nearly 12% from its Sept. 2 record highs. The Dow and S&P 500 were hovering just above the correction threshold, defined by a drop of 10% or more from recent highs.
Shares of Apple, a Dow component and a major broader market influencer, sank nearly 4.2% on Wednesday and were under modest pressure in Thursday’s premarket trading. Apple has entered a bear market, down more than 20% from its Sept. 1 all-time high close.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell wraps up his third straight day on Capitol Hill, appearing Thursday morning along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee for an update on the $2.2 trillion March coronavirus relief package. Powell has been telling lawmakers this week that the Fed stands ready to keep supporting the economy with monetary policy but Capitol Hill needs to do its part on the fiscal side.
About 90 minutes before Powell’s scheduled 10 a.m. ET Senate appearance, the Labor Department released jobless claims figures, which showed 870,000 initial filings for unemployment benefits for the week ending Sept. 19. That was modestly higher than expected and slightly higher than the prior week. New claims hit a peak of 6.9 million in late March during the lock downs, and they were running above 1 million per week through late August.
E.W. Scripps (SSP) announced a deal buy privately held TV network operator ION Media for $2.65 billion. The deal is being backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), with Berkshire making a $600 million preferred equity investment in Scripps to help finance the purchase. Shares of E.W. Scripps surged more than 50% in the premarket.