Jobless Claims, China Tensions Drive Stock Futures Down

Weekly jobless claims topped the 2.4 million estimates

by Jake Scott

Published on May 21, 2020 at 9:24 AM
Updated on May 21, 2020 at 11:56 AM

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are down this morning, almost 100 points below breakeven. This fall comes on the heels of news that weekly jobless claims rose by 2.44 million -- just a hair above the 2.40 million estimates -- for what marks now 10 straight weeks of declines. Futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) are also short of fair market value, as U.S.-China tensions continue to bubble, after the Senate passed oversight legislation that would bar Chinese companies from listing on U.S. stock exchanges.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including: 

  • This dialysis provider is thriving after a positive earnings report.
  • Clorox stock is cleaning up on the charts.
  • Plus, Best Buy pointed lower despite earnings beat; Medtronic chalks earnings miss up to COVID-19 interference; and a C-suite shakeup at Schlumberger.

Stock Futures Chart May 21

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.6 million call contracts traded on Wednesday and 776,494 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.49, and the 21-day moving average slipped to 0.59.
  2. Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) is down 3.1% before the open, despite the electronics retailer reporting first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's estimates. Comparable-store sales fell by a smaller-than-expected margin too. Best Buy stock is up 43% this quarter.
  3. Down 2.7% during pre-market, Medtronic PLC (NYSE:MDT) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that came up short of forecasts. A delay in elective surgeries due to the coronavirus pandemic was cited as a catalyst for these shortcomings. Medtronic stock is poised to add to its 13.6% year-to-date deficit. 
  4. Oilfield services name Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB) is down 0.7% ahead of the open amid reports that the company will reshuffle its top executives. Additionally, SLB plans to consolidate its 17 product lines into four divisions. Year-over-year, the equity is facing a 54% deficit. 
  5. Today, the Markit services purchasing managers index (PMI), existing home sales and leading economic indicators all pour in. On deck to report earnings are Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Hormel Foods (HRL), Nordstrom (JWN), Nvidia (NVDA), and TJX Companies (TJX).

Buzz Chart May 21

Overseas Markets Slip as COVID-19 Cases Climb

Stocks in Asia were mostly lower today, as investors kept an eye on the global easing of lockdowns, while the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the number of new cases globally hit a daily record this week. Today’s only winner, the Kospi in South Korea, finished up 0.4%. Meanwhile, the Nikkei in Japan closed with a 0.2% loss amid reports of Japan’s trade data for April plunging 21.9% in comparison to last year, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively. 

In Europe, markets are also down at midday, as bourses weigh the WHO’s statement as well as the euro zone purchasing managers index (PMI) – which showed another drop in activity for the region’s manufacturing and services industry for May – albeit one that was lower-than-expected. London’s FTSE 100 is down 0.5%, the French CAC 40 has fallen 0.8%, and the German DAX is bringing up the rear so far, off by 1.1%. 


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