Fears of a new wave of COVID-19 infections in several Asian countries are a real concern for investors. The global death toll has crossed four million. Trading on Thursday might be impacted by a reaction to the weekly jobless claims report.

Early trends on U.S. Futures Index suggest that Wall Street might open lower.
Asian shares finished down, while European shares are declining.

As of 8.10 am ET, the Dow futures were sliding 497.00 points, the S&P 500 futures were down 63.00 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures were sliding 235.75 points.

The U.S. major averages closed Wednesday modestly higher. The Nasdaq inched up just 1.42 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 14,665.06. The Dow climbed 104.42 points or 0.3 percent to 34,681.79 and the S&P 500 rose 14.59 points or 0.3 percent to 4,358.13.

On the economic front, the Labor Department’s Jobless Claims for the week will be published at 8.30 am ET. The consensus is for 353K, while it was up 364K in the prior week.

The Energy Information Administration or EIA’s Natural Gas Report for the week will be issued at 10.30 am ET. In the prior week, the gas stock was up 76 bcf. The Petroleum status report is scheduled at 11.00 am and in the previous week, the crude oil inventories were down 6.7 million barrels, and the gasoline inventories were up 1.5 million barrels.

The Fed Balance sheet for the week will be released at 4.30 pm ET. In the prior week, the level was at $8.079.

Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Thursday. Chinese shares ended lower. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 28.21 points, or 0.79 percent, to 3,525.50.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index tumbled to settle at 27,153.13.

Japanese markets extended losses from the previous session. The Nikkei average slipped 248.92 points, or 0.88 percent, to 28,118.03, marking its lowest close in more than two weeks. The broader Topix index ended 0.90 percent lower at 1,920.32.

Australian stocks eked out modest gains. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index ended up 14.50 points, or 0.20 percent, at 7,341.40 – finishing off the day’s highs as New South Wales State reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 for the year. The broader All Ordinaries index edged up 15.60 points, or 0.21 percent, to 7,614.90.

European shares are trading lower. Among the major indexes in the region, the CAC 40 Index of France is declining 172.70 points or 2.65 percent. The German DAX is losing 362.79 points or 2.33 percent, the U.K. FTSE 100 Index is sliding 153.83 points or 2.15 percent.

The Swiss Market Index is down 218.34 points or 1.81 percent.

The Euro Stoxx 50 Index, which is a compilation of 50 blue chip stocks across the euro area, is down 2.78 percent.

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