Stocks poised to open lower as jobless claims surge

Home Depot closing at 6 p.m. local time due to COVID-19

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U.S stocks were poised to open mildly lower Thursday after another surge in layoffs offset hopes the coronavirus pandemic was reaching a peak in some global economies.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell 100 points, while Standard & Poor’s 500 futures dipped 0.8%. The broad index has jumped nearly 23% in the past two and a half weeks, driven by massive amounts of aid promised by governments and central banks for the economy and markets.

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to 6.6 million last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, after a record 10 million people applied for benefits in the previous two weeks because of business shutdowns from the coronavirus.

“Following ten plus years of economic growth, these job losses represent a sea change for the economy, as well as for those individuals who have been affected,” Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer and executive director at investment advisor RDM Financial Group at Hightower, said in a note. “As the damage has mounted, the big question is when will the economy start to re-open for business again.”

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