China trade data lifts futures ahead of jobless claims

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures jumped on Thursday as a surprise rise in Chinese exports spurred hopes of a faster economic recovery, even as investors braced for data likely to show millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

Wall Street has rebounded sharply from a coronavirus-fueled selloff in March, helped by massive monetary and fiscal stimulus and, more recently, hard-hit states reopening businesses following sweeping lockdowns.

China’s overseas shipments in April rose for the first time this year as factories raced to make up for lost sales.

However, with the S&P 500 now about 16% below its record high, the mood has turned cautious again with data revealing the extent of the pandemic’s economic damage and U.S.-China tensions resurfacing over the origin of the novel coronavirus.

A report on Thursday said Sino-U.S. negotiators will hold a phone call as early as next week to discuss progress in implementing a Phase 1 trade deal after President Donald Trump threatened to end it if China was not adhering to the terms.

Later in the day, data is expected to show U.S. jobless claims totaling a seasonally adjusted 3 million for the week ended May 2, down from 3.839 million in the prior week and marking the fifth straight weekly decrease in applications.

Among early movers before the bell, PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O) jumped 7.7% after the payment processor said it expected a strong recovery in payments volumes in the second quarter as social distancing drives more people to shop online.

Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) surged 14.9% as the ride-hailing company posted higher-than-expected revenue and vowed to further cut costs to become profitable.

At 05:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 315 points, or 1.34%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 42.5 points, or 1.5% and Nasdaq 100w e-minis NQcv1 were up 142 points, or 1.59%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were up 1.27%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed down 0.7% at 2,848.42​ on Wednesday.

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