US stocks will be in focus today, ahead of economic data scheduled for later in the day.
Context: US stocks closed mostly unchanged on Thursday, after witnessing heavy volatility earlier in the session. Markets rose sharply only to give back most of the gains following reports of disappointing results from experimental drug intended to treat coronavirus.
Details: The Financial Times reported that that Gilead’s drug remdesivir was not able to improve the condition of patients suffering from COVID-19. However, the drug maker said that results were erroneously published on the WHO (World Health Organization) website. While this was removed later, the damage had already been done.
Investors also digested disappointing economic data earlier in the day. Around 4.4 million Americans filed for jobless claims for the first time in the latest week. The figure was worse than the expectation of 4 million claims. Economists project that this might push the unemployment rate to between 15% and 20%. Service sector PMI plummeted to its lowest level in April, while manufacturing PMI also fell to an 11-year low.
Some recovery in crude prices supported US indices on Thursday, pushing the S&P 500 energy sector higher by 3.3%.
After rising as high as 23,885.36 earlier in the session, the Dow gave up most of the gains to settle higher by merely 39.44 points at 23,515.26. The S&P 500 slipped 0.05% at 2,797.80, while the Nasdaq 100 settled unchanged at 8,494.75.
Shares of Domino’s Pizza dropped 3.7% despite the company exceeding first-quarter expectations for earnings and sales. Hershey’s shares fell 4.5% after the company missed earnings estimates. Shares of Eli Lilly & Co. gained over 2% after the company posted upbeat quarterly results.
What to watch: The White House cleared a $484 billion spending package late Thursday for helping small businesses in the country. However, markets could trade cautiously today, with stock futures trading mostly flat.
Investors await the economic reports scheduled for release today. New orders for durable goods, which rose 1.2% in February, are expected to plunge sharply by 11.9% in March. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index is projected to drop to 68 in April, versus a reading of 89.1 in March.
Other Markets: European indices were trading lower at 9:00a.m. GMT, with the FTSE 100, German 30 and French 40 down by 1.3%, 1.7% and 1.5%, respectively.