Stock futures up slightly after dovish Fed minutes

Federal Reserve

Economy remains far from the Fed’s target

U.S. stock futures made slight gains early Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve published minutes of its March 16-17 monetary policy meeting.

The minutes indicated further signs of dovishness, with policymakers noting that it “would likely be some time” before they will need to begin scaling back their $120 billion a month in bond purchases, which is viewed as the first step on the path toward hiking interest rates.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to deliver a speech at the International Monetary Fund Debate on the Global Economy later today.

At around 6:15 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were indicated 15.5 points, or 0.05% higher to 33,343.5. S&P 500 futures rose 13.62 points, or 0.33% to 4,083.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 116.75.

Eyes on weekly jobless claims data

Today, traders will be watching the U.S. Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims data, which is scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economics project that claims dropped to 680,000 for the week ended April 3, from 719,000 a week earlier.

Continuing claims, which refers to the number of unemployed individual who have already filed a claim and who are continuing to receive weekly benefits, are expected to come in at 3.65 million down from 3.79 million the prior week.

Twitter reportedly discussed $4 billion acquisition of Clubhouse

Twitter (NASDAQ: TWTR) held discussions in recent months to acquire Clubhouse at a $4 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday,

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that these talks to buy the live drop-in audio networking platform have reportedly fizzled out, and it is unclear why.

Earlier this week, the news outlet reported that Clubhouse holding discussions to raise a new round of funding at a valuation of around $4 billion. The success of Clubhouse has spurred projects at various social media rivals such as Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Spotify (NYSE: SPOT).

UK recommends against the use of AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s

On the vaccine front, the UK government has recommended not to use the coronavirus jab developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ: AZN) and Oxford University on people under the age of 30 if there is an alternative shot available, according to a Reuters report.

“We are advising a preference for one vaccine over another vaccine for a particular age group, really out of the utmost caution, rather than because we have any serious safety concerns,” the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said in a briefing Wednesday.

JCVI made the announcement following the European Medicines Agency’s conclusion of a possible link between the vaccine and rare cases of blood clots reported across Europe.

Despite the news, AstraZeneca stock was up $2.99% to $49.87 a share in Thursday’s pre-market trading session Thursday.