May 7, 2020 / 12:08 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-China trade data lifts futures ahead of jobless claims

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* PayPal Holdings jumps on strong payments recovery forecast

* Lyft surges on revenue beat, cost cuts

* Exxon, Chevron up on hopes of future oil demand

* Futures up: Dow 1.35%, S&P 1.51%, Nasdaq 1.49% (Adds comment, details; Updates prices)

By C Nivedita and Medha Singh

May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures jumped on Thursday after a surprise rise in Chinese exports and a surge in oil prices spurred hopes of an economic recovery, even as investors braced for what is likely to be another gloomy weekly jobless claims report.

Dow-components Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp rose more than 2% in premarket trading on optimism around future oil demand after China's overseas shipments in April rose for the first time this year as factories raced to make up for lost sales.

Wall Street's main indexes have rebounded sharply from a coronavirus-fueled selloff in March, powered by monetary and fiscal stimulus and, more recently, hard-hit states reopening businesses following sweeping lockdowns.

However, with the S&P 500 now about 16% below its record high, the mood has turned cautious again with data revealing the extent of the pandemic's economic damage and U.S.-China tensions resurfacing over the origin of the novel coronavirus.

"The stock market currently is not a true representation of the economy's weakened status," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.

"Investors are betting on a best-case economic recovery scenario supported by further easing measures. But predicting how asset prices play out during this pandemic is more of a guessing game than any form of true analysis."

A report on Thursday said Sino-U.S. negotiators will hold a phone call as early as next week to discuss progress in implementing a Phase 1 trade deal after President Donald Trump threatened to end it if China was not adhering to the terms.

Later in the day, data is expected to show U.S. jobless claims totaling a seasonally adjusted 3 million for the week ended May 2, down from 3.839 million in the prior week and marking the fifth straight weekly decrease in applications.

The report follows data on Wednesday that showed a record 20.2 million plunge in private payrolls in April, setting up the overall labor market for historic job losses last month.

At 7:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 317 points, or 1.35%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 42.75 points, or 1.51% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 133.5 points, or 1.49%.

PayPal Holdings Inc jumped 9.5% after the payment processor said it expected a strong recovery in payments volumes in the second quarter as social distancing drives more people to shop online.

Lyft Inc surged 17% as the ride-hailing company posted higher-than-expected revenue and vowed to further cut costs to become profitable. Rival Uber Technologies gained 8%.

About 350 of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far and first-quarter earnings are expected to have fallen 12.4%, with analysts expecting an earnings recession by the second quarter, according to Refinitiv data. (Reporting by C Nivedita and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shounak Dasgupta)

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