U.S. stock futures were flat Thursday as investors took a breather after three volatile sessions.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up just 1 point. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were also up slightly.
The muted moves followed a bounce in U.S. equities during normal trading hours on Wednesday that helped pare the S&P 500’s 4.8% slide over Monday and Tuesday.
Violent fluctuations in the price of oil have kept markets on edge this week as a slide in demand the result of the coronavirus and persistent oversupply keep pressure on crude.
Though West Texas Intermediate crude is down more than 70% from highs north of $60 per barrel earlier this year, its bounce on Wednesday pacified investors who worried that the futures contracts could fall back into negative territory as they did on Monday.
The contract for June delivery settled up 19% at $13.78 per barrel on Wednesday after President Donald Trump tweeted that he’d “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
WTI contract for May delivery plunged below zero to trade in negative territory on the first day of the week for the first time ever. A day later, the more actively traded June contract fell 43.37% to settle at $11.57. Brent and WTI crude futures were last seen trading up 8% and 3.7%, respectively.
U.S. traders on Thursday digested the Labor Department’s latest report on jobless claims.
Another 4.4 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to data from the Labor Department. That brought the five-week jobless claims total to more than 26 million, erasing all the job gains since the Great Recession.
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