S&P futures near record high with jobless claims in focus

(Reuters) – Futures tracking the S&P 500 hovered near a record high on Thursday, with investors awaiting a batch of economic data to gauge the health of the U.S. economy following strong gains for the equity market in the first half of the year.

FILE PHOTO: Dividers are seen inside a trading post on the trading floor as preparations are made for the return to trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claim report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell for the week ended June 26, albeit at a slower pace amid labor shortages.

Separately, data on U.S. factory activity and construction spending is scheduled at 10 a.m. ET.

With the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hitting a series of record highs last month, investors are razor-focused on Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report, where a strong reading could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to rethink its accommodative stance.

The Fed’s surprisingly hawkish tone in June had accelerated a move into the so called “safe haven” tech-heavy growth stocks from energy, financials and industrial names that stand to benefit the most from the reopening economy.

Focus also shifts to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning July, to gauge whether the first-half momentum could continue further for the remaining year.

At 6:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 32.5 points, or 0.22%.

Micron Technology Inc slipped 2.9% premarket even as it beat estimates for quarterly profit and forecast fourth-quarter revenue above expectations.

Didi Global Inc jumped 8.5%, a day after its shares ended their first day of U.S. trading slightly over their initial public offering price, valuing China’s ride-hailing giant at $68.49 billion.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc rose 0.8% ahead of its third-quarter results.

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