Stock market news live updates: Stock futures edge lower ahead of jobless claim data

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Stock futures slipped Thursday morning following a three-day rally that pushed the S&P near a record high as investors turn their attention to weekly jobless claims and weigh mixed reports around the Omicron variant.

Contracts on the Dow fell 0.26%, while the S&P 500 dropped 12.75 points to 4,686.75 in pre-markets trading, just one day after it approached a record. Nasdaq futures dropped 61.25 points to 16,338.

Weekly jobless claims are expected to decrease, hovering around the pre-pandemic average of about 220,000 per week, further signaling a tight labor market as employers seek to retain workers.

Investors continue to asses the risks of Omicron infections, with mixed news about the severity of illness and its response to vaccines. Bloomberg reported that the COVID-19 strain was found to be 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than the Delta variant. 

The news follows consecutive gains in the last three trading sessions after investor concerns around the Omicron variant were eased by reports of less severe infection and early lab results from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech showed a third dose of their coronavirus vaccine “neutralizes” the variant. 

“We do think that there is fundamental support there for markets to continue to move higher here,” Emily Roland, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock investment management, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “Obviously we had a couple of things spook us over the last week or so, the emergence of the Omicron variant as well as this pivot from the Fed, potentially seeing them accelerating their tapering of asset purchases here. But the bottom line is that the economy is strong.”

With virus concerns diminishing, investors are pivoting their attention back to economic data, awaiting Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures on Friday to assess the extent inflationary pressures will persist.

“If the Omicron variant was to lead to a resurgence in goods spending at the expense of services or to further complicate supply disruptions, there could be a clear inflationary impact, too,” HSBC economist James Pomeroy wrote earlier this week in a research note to clients. “The inflation news in the past few weeks has been decidedly mixed — with upside surprises in both the U.S. and eurozone being offset by the possibility of some of the supply chain issues starting to alleviate, while energy prices have fallen sharply in recent days.

Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) shares were flat in pre-market trading Thursday. The stock rose 2.3% Wednesday closing at $175.08 — hitting a third-consecutive record high. The iPhone maker is on the cusp of becoming a $3 trillion company. The milestone would be reached at a time when the company is expected to foray into augmented and virtual reality with the launch of headsets in 2022. 

7:27 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures slip

Here were the main moves in markets in early trading Thursday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -12.75 points (-0.27%), to 4,686.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): -92 points (-0.26%), to 35,654

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -61.25 points (-0.37%) to 16,331

6:57 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open flat

Here were the main moves in markets in late trading on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -1.75 points (-0.04%), to 4,697.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): + -8 points (-0.02%), to 35,728

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -16.50 points (-0.10%) to 16,375.75

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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