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Stock Futures Fall Amid COVID-19 Uncertainty, U.S.-China Trade Talks

U.S. weekly jobless claims were worse-than-expected

Deputy Editor
Aug 20, 2020 at 9:15 AM
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Stock futures are falling this morning, one session after the S&P 500 Index (SPX) briefly snagged another record close, as concerns about economic recovery and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic weigh on investors' minds. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) were last seen down over 100 points, despite news that Washington and Beijing are coming back to the negotiating table in the coming days, a sign of imminent trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Elsewhere, Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) futures continue to hover just below fair value, as the shares of Nividia (NVDA) tumble in pre-market trading despite last night reporting better-than-expected revenue for the latest quarter. Meanwhile, U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled 1.1 million, which was worse than the expected 923,000.

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

Futures Chart August 20

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw nearly 1.6 million call contracts traded on Wednesday, and 686,408 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.43, and the 21-day moving average rose to 0.48.
  2. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is falling in pre-market trading, last seen down 0.5%, after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected profits and revenue for the fiscal first quarter. It was reported that BABA was helped by pandemic-related online shopping, and the company had 874 million mobile monthly active users in June, well above the 28 million figure from March.
  3. International Game Technology PLC (NYSE:IGT) is up 1.8% before the bell, after striking a deal with Boyd Gaming (BYD), in which IGT will provide sports betting technology to the casino operator. International Game's sports betting platform will be made available to Boyd's sportsbooks in Nevada, in addition to its mobile and online betting apps.
  4. The shares of Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) are flat ahead of the open, after the social media behemoth won preliminary approval to settle a lawsuit regarding the company's illegal collection of facial recognition and other biometric data from users. Previously, Facebook offered to pay $650 million in July to settle the suit.
  5. Today investors will keep an eye on initial and continuing jobless claims, as well as the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index. As far as earnings go, Alibaba (BABA), Estee Lauder (EL), Keysight (KEYS), and Sea (SE) will report.


Asian Markets Struggled; European Investors Turn Eyes Toward Pompeo's Warning

Stocks in Asia struggled during today’s session, with the South Korean Kospi leading the losers after dropping 3.7%. In news, China announced that it would make no changes to its benchmark lending rate, with the one-year loan prime rate (LPR) held at 3.85% and the five-year LPR kept at 4.65%. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5%, and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1%.

Markets in Europe are contending with steep losses midday, as investors keep an eye on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning to Russia and China regarding Iran, as well as uncertainty around global economic recovery. So far today, London’s FTSE 100 is down 1.3%, the French CAC 40 has dipped 1.2%, and the German DAX has let go of 1.1%.


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