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Stock poised to open lower as investors await jobless claims data

U.S. stock futures were set to open mildly lower as investors awaited data that is expected to show a record number of Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week following a wave of layoffs from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell 300 points, a day after the blue-chip average notched back-to-back gains for the first time since mid-February in anticipation of fiscal stimulus from Congress.

Initial jobless claims, released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, will offer investors clues into the duration and severity of how the deadly virus is impacting the U.S. economy. The data is expected to show that up to several million U.S. workers were laid off last week, the highest weekly tally on record.

“The number of job losses may allow markets to gauge the severity of the potential recession and move closer to beginning a recovery,” Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial, said in a note. 

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Traders works after the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street, August 1, 2019, in New York City.

The data is set to come after the Senate approved aid late Wednesday to blunt the impact of business shutdowns due to the coronavirus that has killed more than 21,000 people worldwide. The measure goes to the House, which is expected to approve it.

Global stock prices have swung wildly as business shutdowns spread around the world. Investors say they need to see a decline in numbers of new coronavirus infections before prices can bottom out.

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