A pedestrian passes in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Stocks futures were slightly lower in early trading on Thursday, following a steep market sell-off triggered by intensifying worries about the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average implied an opening drop of about 30 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed from the previous session. Trading volumes were thin overnight.
The record spikes in new coronavirus cases in multiple states are damping hopes for a smooth economic recovery. California and Florida reported their biggest daily spikes in new coronavirus cases, while Houston said its intensive-care unit beds are near capacity. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also ordered visitors from certain hotspot states to quarantine for 14 days.
The negative headlines sent the market into a downward spiral on Wednesday. The Dow dropped about 700 points, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell 2.5% and 2.1%, respectively. All three benchmarks posted their worst day since June 11. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also snapped an eight-day winning streak.
“The market has been optimistic that the economy is re-opening and that life would get somewhat back to normal, but the virus may have other ideas,” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance, said in an email. “The market has again gotten caught up in the crossfire of increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases, trade protectionism and politics.”
The Trump administration is considering new tariffs on $3.1 billion exports from France, Germany, Spain and the U.K., according to a notice from the U.S. Trade Representative released Tuesday evening. The new duties on olives, beer, gin and trucks can be up to 100%.
Investors will monitor the latest weekly jobless claims data on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a total of 1.35 million first-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending June 20, which would be a decline from 1.508 million for the week prior. Weekly jobless claims have stayed above 1 million for 13 weeks as the pandemic roiled the labor market.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.