US STOCKS-Futures slide as jobless claims top 6 million

Reuters

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    * Initial unemployment rose to 6.65 mln last week 
    * Exxon, Chevron top gainers on Dow premarket
    * All three main indexes fell over 4% on Wednesday
    * Futures down: Dow 0.42%, S&P 0.25%, Nasdaq 0.33%

 (Adds details, comment; Updates prices)
    By Medha Singh and Uday Sampath Kumar
    April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on
Thursday after U.S. jobless claims topped a whopping 6 million
as more jurisdictions enforced stay-at-home measures to curb the
coronavirus pandemic.
    The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment
benefits hit a record high for a second straight week and far
exceeded the median estimate of 3.50 million in a Reuters survey
of economists.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nAQN006QXN
    "This shows the magnitude and the seriousness of this
problem," said Richard Steinberg, chief market strategist at
Colony Group, in Florida.
    "We're going to be digesting this for awhile and until the
data becomes less worse, we're going to have lumpiness in
trading around these shock-and-awe numbers."
    Sentiment was earlier lifted by a recovery in oil prices as
U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and
Russia to reach an agreement to cut output to cope with plunging
demand.  O/R 
    Exxon Mobil Corp  XOM.N  and Chevron Corp  CVX.N  jumped
more than 6% in premarket trading, while Occidental Petroleum
 OXY.N , ConocoPhillips  COP  and Apache  APA.N  jumped more
than 9%, leading gains among S&P 500 components.
    The Dow  .DJI  and S&P 500  .SPX  are still fresh from their
worst opening quarters in history, as U.S. companies cut
production and withdraw financial forecasts to the coronavirus
outbreak, raising the risk of corporate defaults.
    Boeing Co  BA.N  said on Thursday it would offer buyout and
early retirement packages to employees in the face of a near
collapse in global travel demand. Its shares rose 3% before the
bell.  L1N2BQ07O 
    "Until investors are able to put a price on the final cost
of the economic impact from the virus pandemic, any predictions
of where the bottom is for stocks will be deemed premature,"
said Raffi Boyadjian, senior investment analyst at XM in Cyprus.
    At 9:09 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis  1YMcv1  were down 87 points,
or 0.42%. S&P 500 e-minis  EScv1  were down 6 points, or 0.25%
and Nasdaq 100 e-minis  NQcv1  were down 24.25 points, or 0.33%.
    The S&P 500 has lost about $8 trillion in market value since
a mid-February record high as the outbreak spread deeper in the
United States and Trump warned of more economic pain in the next
two weeks as efforts to contain the virus crush business
activity.
    Across the Atlantic, British Airways  ICAG.L  jumped 3%
after reports it was in talks with its union about a plan to
suspend around 32,000 staff, marking one of the industry's most
dramatic moves yet to survive the coronavirus impact.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2BQ1NV
    Delta Airlines  DAL.O , United Airlines Holding  UAL.O  and
American Airlines  AAL.O , among the most battered U.S. stocks
this year, rose about 5%.
    Southwest Airlines Co  LUV.N  jumped 3% as it said it
intended to file an application with the U.S. Treasury
department for aid related to the disruption caused by the
health crisis.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2BQ2O9

 (Reporting by Medha Singh and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur)
 ((Medha.Singh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1646 223 8780,
outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Twitter: https://twitter.com/medhasinghs))

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