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Dow futures trim losses, turn positive after release of jobless claims data

Stock futures were slightly lower in early trading Thursday as investors paused in the wake of already-robust gains seen on Wall Street so far this week.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 contracts traded lower by 0.4% and 1.1%, respectively. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures turned marginally higher after the Labor Department released its latest read on weekly jobless claims. 

The number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits totaled 881,000 for the week ending Aug. 29. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time applications to have decelerated to 950,000 during the week ending Aug. 29.

Facebook shares were down more than 1% in the premarket after the company said it will ban new political ads on its platform in the week before the presidential election. Apple slid 2.3% and Amazon dropped 1%.

The early morning trading action Thursday came on the heels of yet another strong day for stocks on Wednesday that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb 454 points, or 1.59%.

The rally lifted the blue-chip average above 29,000 for the first time since February and represented its single-best session since mid-July. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite clinched record closing levels.

The S&P 500 notched a similar advance of 1.54% as cyclical stocks — those that move in response to the health of the U.S. economy — outperformed. Materials stock DuPont popped 5%, Verizon added 2.3% and Alaska Air climbed 3.3%.

Though high-flying names like Apple and Tesla fell 2% and 5.8%, respectively, their Wednesday losses only curb significant year-to-date gains for each stock. Still, not all tech names underperformed: Semiconductor stocks like Nvidia and Intel rose 3.8% and 2.8%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductors ETF rose 2.6%.

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