US pre-open: Futures lower as health woes return to focus
Wall Street futures had stocks opening lower ahead of the bell on Thursday as more positive vaccine news was obscured by the ever-growing number of fresh Covid-19 cases across the US.
As of 1225 GMT, Dow Jones futures were down 0.18%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.08% and 0.21% lower, respectively.
The Dow closed 344.93 points lower on Wednesday after the US coronavirus death toll topped 250,000.
Headlines doing the rounds early on Thursday were quite mixed ahead of the bell, with Pfizer announcing that a final analysis showed that its vaccine candidate was 95% effective against the coronavirus at the same time that New York City announced that it would closing schools as a result of the rising number of new cases.
Also in focus on Thursday will be this week's all-important initial jobless claims data from the Department of Labor, expected to come in roughly flat week-on-week at around 710,000.
CMC Markets' David Madden said: "Stock markets have fallen today because health woes are back at the forefront of traders’ minds. As much as the positive drug news from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna was welcomed this month, the fact remains that the health crisis is a serious issue. The bullish vaccine news has been replaced by worries about the fatality rates, increasing Covid-19 infection levels and restrictions.
"It is worth remembering that stocks were starting from a relatively high point so the fresh health woes provided an easy excuse to exit equity markets."
On the macro front, weekly jobless claims data and the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index will be out at 1330 GMT, while the Conference Board's leading index and existing home sales for October will follow at 1500 GMT and the Kansas Fed's manufacturing index will be released at 1600 GMT.
In the corporate space, Macy's same-store sales fell 20% amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while Williams-Sonoma and Haynes International will post earnings after the close.