Dow Jones futures soft, key employment reports loom

Dow Jones futures trade softly, Covid-19 cases continue to climb and a number of key employment data releases loom.

Key US market moves at a glance

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) struggled to gain much traction on Wednesday – falling 0.30% or 77 points – to finish the session at the 25,734 point mark.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite by comparison rose during Wednesday's session, with the FANG cohort leading the gains. Facebook, coming off concerns of an ‘ad exodus’ finished the session up 4.62%, Google (Alphabet) traded 1.73% higher, Amazon was up an impressive 4.36%, Apple's stock fell; while the Netflix share price surged 6.72% to finish at US$485 per share.

The Dow’s constituents traded far less evenly on Wednesday, with Pfizer, Walt Disney and Merck all trading higher, while Walgreens Boots Alliance, Exxon Mobil and IBM were the worst performing Dow stocks.

Mind you, even though the Dow finished Wednesday’s session lower, the general atmosphere was one of optimism in US equity markets, after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and BioNTech announced positive results from early-stage Covid-19 vaccine trials.

In a press release, Pfizer Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research & Development, Dr Kathrin Jansen said:

‘We are dedicated to develop potentially groundbreaking vaccines and medicines, and in the face of this global health crisis, we approach this goal with the utmost urgency. We look forward to publishing our clinical data in a peer-reviewed journal as quickly as possible.’

Pfizer finished out the session up 3.21% at US$33.74 per share.

Covid-19 cases continue to rise, Dow Jones futures soft

Though the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine represents a distinct positives, cases of the virus continue to spread across the US at a rapid rate.

Indeed, vaccine or no vaccine, Covid-19 cases continue to climb in a number of key US states, with IG’s Market Analyst, Kyle Rodda saying:

‘The rate of new cases leapt 1.8 per cent across the US, with the state of California, and the state of Arizona reporting their highest daily jump in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, and the state of Texas reporting its highest ever active case numbers.’

Regardless of that, as of 10:03PM (New York time), Down Jones futures were trading up 23 points or 0.09%, implying the key US benchmark would open in positive territory on Thursday.

Elsewhere, on Thursday a deluge of employment data is set to be released, including: nonfarm payrolls data, unemployment rate data, average hour earnings data, as well as initial and continuing jobless claims data.

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