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Futures drop ahead of jobless claims data as recovery concerns weigh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday ahead of weekly jobless claims data, as uncertainty around Federal Reserve’s monetary tapering timeline and signs of slowing economic growth were a drag on investor sentiment.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Futures tied to the S&P 500 and Dow Jones suggest that both the indexes would extend losses for a fourth straight session at the open, with the benchmark index set for its worst losing streak since June.

Heavyweight technology stocks including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc all fell about 0.3% each in premarket trading.

Although, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has been largely dovish in his commentary on tapering timelines, risks from rising inflation despite a slowing economy has raised fears among investors that the central bank might have to rein in its massive stimulus sooner than expected.

Market sentiment has largely been subdued this week after recent jobs report showed a slowdown in U.S. hiring and on worries over a slowing economy due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.

At 6:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 97 points, or 0.28%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 12.25 points, or 0.27%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 29.75 points, or 0.19%.

Initial jobless claims data will likely show fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits, with expectations of 335,000 claims compared to 340,000 last week.

Video game retailer GameStop Corp tumbled 7.3% as the company’s silence on its turnaround plan left its army of small-time investors questioning the meteoric rise in its share price this year.

Reports that Beijing had temporarily suspended approval for all new online video games, sent shares of U.S.-listed gaming stocks Roblox Corp, Activision Blizzard Inc, Electronic Art Inc, and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc down between 0.3% and 1.6%.

Athletic apparel maker Lululemon Athletica Inc jumped 14.1% after it forecast annual revenue and profit above estimates.

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