U.S. stock futures fall as virus fears eclipse upbeat retail sales


By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

July 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open lower on Thursday as concerns about the economic toll from another round of shutdowns across the United States offset data showing a higher-than-expected rise in domestic retail sales in June.

The Commerce Department's report showed retail sales jumped 7.5% last month compared with economists' forecast of 5%, signalling the economy was continuing to limp out of a coronavirus-driven slump as several states eased lockdowns from May.

But a recent surge in domestic COVID-19 cases has forced states such as California to shut down again, sparking fears of more business damage and slowing the pace of a Wall Street rally.

"Much of the easy lifting in both the equity markets and in the economy is mostly behind us," said Michael Hans, chief investment officer at Clarfeld Citizens Private Wealth in Greater New York Area.

"Especially as it relates to retail sales, the policy moving forward is important. What goes on at the end of the month with the pandemic unemployment assistance set to expire? How does that impact the recovery and how does the consumer fare?"

Millions are set to lose their unemployment checks on July 31 when the government stops paying an additional $600 per week to jobless self-employed people, gig workers and contractors who do not qualify for regular state unemployment benefits.

Another report from the Labor Department on Thursday showed weekly jobless claims fell to 1.30 million in the week ended July 11 from 1.31 million the previous week, but remain roughly double their highest point during the global financial crisis.

At 9:08 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1were down 160 points, or 0.6% S&P 500 e-minis EScv1were down 18.75 points, or 0.58% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1were down 112.25 points, or 1.05%.

Bank of America Corp BAC.N fell 2.9% in premarket trading after its second-quarter profit more than halved, even as it set aside only about half as much in reserves as some of its peers against a potential wave of defaults.

Twitter Inc TWTR.N fell 4% as hackers accessed its internal systems to hijack some of the platform's top voices including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk and used them to solicit digital currency.

American Airlines AAL.O dropped 3.6% as it sent 25,000 notices of potential furloughs to frontline workers and warned that demand for air travel is slowing again.

Tesla Inc TSLA.O slipped 4.3% as its vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the second quarter, according to data from a marketing research firm.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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