The main indexes of Wall Street opened lower on Thursday, with technology and bank stocks dragging. Moreover, data showed jobless claims declined last week. The labor market has been recovering from a recession due to the pandemic.
The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell to 684,000. That was for the week ending March 20 from 781,000 in the previous week.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was optimistic about a strong U.S. economic rebound. Additionally, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said future tax hikes would be needed to pay for public investments. These were their testimonies to Congress this week.
Furthermore, at his first formal White House news conference, President Joe Biden will lay out a new goal for U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations. He is also gearing up to reveal a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh.
The Economy and Stock Movements
This month, the Nasdaq Composite has dropped as positive economic projections raised demand for undervalued stocks. These include energy, mining and industrial firms. However, this also raised fears of higher inflation as well as a potential tax hike.
In premarket trading, economically sensitive bank stocks shed early gains to fall between 0.3% and 0.7%. These included JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.
In addition, Facebook Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, and Twitter Inc fell between 0.8% and 2.7%. This was ahead of their chief executives’ testimony before Congress about extremism and misinformation on their services.
Dow e-minis were down 144 points, or 0.45%, at 8:50 a.m. ET. Moreover, the S&P 500 e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.44%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 70.25 points, or 0.55%.
Nike Inc shares fell 5.7% as the company faced a Chinese social media backlash. That was over its comments about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.
Elsewhere, Turkish stocks may be March’s worst performers globally after their rapid descent this week. HSBC Securities, however, is keeping its positive view because of increasingly attractive valuations.
Turkish markets were hurt after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired central bank governor Naci Agbal. Agbal’s November appointment encouraged investor optimism of a return to more orthodox monetary policy.
This week, the benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index has slumped more than 7%. The Istanbul benchmark is the worst-performing index in the world this month in dollar terms among 92 markets.