Wall Street futures slump as traders watch U.S. weekly jobless claims data

jobs report

Stocks set to slide at the open

U.S. stock futures tumbled early Thursday as market participants looked ahead to the weekly jobless claims report for indications on the health of the labor market. The Labor Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Major financial institutions expect the report to show that jobless claims spiked by the millions in the week ended March 21 as layoffs increased because of coronavirus shutdowns. Morgan Stanley economists forecast the number will be about 3.4 million, while Goldman Sachs sees about 2.25 million.

By 5:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 305 points, or about 1.45% to 20,721. The S&P 500 futures dropped 45.5 points, or around 1.84% to 2,421.5 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were seen losing 123.5 points, or roughly 1.65% to 7,344.25.

Senate approves coronavirus rescue package

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a historic $2 trillion economic stimulus package on Wednesday, which will now go to the House of Representatives for approval before official implementation.

The legislation, which is aimed at helping the American economy weather the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, provides $130 billion to hospitals and a $367 billion fund for small businesses. It also includes up to $1,200 in direct relief for most American adults.

Apple said to be considering a “months” delay of its next iPhone launch due to coronavirus

In other news, the Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) may delay the launch of its first 5G iPhone as the novel coronavirus pandemic puts a strain on the company’s supply chains and threatens smartphone sales.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the publication said the launch of so-called “iPhone 12” could be delayed by months, possibly into 2021.

“Supply chain constraint aside, Apple is concerned that the current situation would significantly lower consumer appetite to upgrade their phones, which could lead to a tame reception of the first 5G iPhone. They need the first 5G iPhone to be a hit,” the sources said.

Apple traditionally unveils its new iPhones in September or October. Shares of the tech giant were little changed in premarket trading hours on Thursday.