Wall Street Skittish as Stocks Face Fourth Day of Losses: Live Updates

Credit…Jianan Yu/Reuters

U.S. stocks were expected to fall when trading begins on Thursday as investors continue to worry about inflation. The S&P 500 was set to open 0.5 percent lower, futures indicated, which would extend losses for the U.S. benchmark index into a fourth day.

Concerns about rapid economic growth fueling inflation, as well as rising coronavirus cases in some parts of the world, have undermined recent optimism about the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

On Wednesday, minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting showed several officials thought that “at some point in upcoming meetings” they could begin to discuss tapering the bank’s bond-buying program. Investors have speculated the central bank would have to do so as price increases accelerated. The same day, data showed Britain’s annual inflation rate doubled to 1.5 percent in April.

The latest weekly data on new state unemployment benefit claims will be released on Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect 450,000 claims, which would be the third consecutive weekly drop and further evidence that the labor market is slowly recovering. Until April, claims regularly exceeded 700,000 each week.

European stock indexes were mixed on Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4 percent as gains in health care and industrial stocks outweighed a fall in energy company shares. The CAC 40 in France rose 0.5 percent and the DAX in Germany rose 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain was little changed.

  • Bitcoin was trading just below $40,000 on Thursday morning after a volatile day on Wednesday when the price plunged to below $32,000.

  • Ethereum, another major cryptocurrency, also recovered some of its losses from Wednesday, when it fell about 20 percent.

  • Oatly, the oat-based milk substitute, priced its shares at $17 each for its initial public offering, the company said on Wednesday, valuing it at about $10 billion. Oatly is expected to begin trading on Thursday with the ticker symbol“OTLY.”

  • Oil prices dropped. Futures on West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 1.7 percent to $62.28 a barrel.

  • Metal prices have fallen after reaching record highs on expectations of a strong global recovery that would increase demand for industrial materials. Iron ore futures were down more than 6 percent on Thursday and copper prices dropped nearly 4 percent on Wednesday.

  • In China, officials have warned against “unreasonable” increases in commodity prices, Bloomberg reported. Officials said they would increase the supply of commodities domestically in a bid to reduce prices, and bolster the oversight of trading in those markets.

Initial claims for state jobless benefits fell again last week, continuing a fairly steady decline since the start of the year, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The weekly figure was slightly under 455,000, a decline of 37,000 from the previous week and the lowest weekly total since before the pandemic. New claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for jobless freelancers, gig workers and others who do not ordinarily qualify for state benefits, totaled 95,000. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.

New state claims remain high by historical levels but are less than half the level recorded as recently as early January. The benefit filings, something of a proxy for layoffs, have receded as business return to fuller operations, particularly in hard-hit industries like leisure and hospitality.

More than 20 Republican-led states have said they will abandon federally funded emergency benefit programs in June or early July, saying the income is deterring recipients from seeking work as some employers complain of trouble filling jobs. Those programs include not only Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but also extended benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Josh Harris may keep busy with basketball after leaving Apollo.
Credit…Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

Joshua Harris, one of Apollo Global Management’s top executives, said on Thursday that he planned to give up day-to-day duties at the private equity giant, after clashing with his fellow founders over the departure of Leon Black as the firm’s chief executive.

The departure of Mr. Harris comes months after he argued that Mr. Black should step down immediately following Apollo’s investigation into his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier and registered sex offender. Mr. Harris was overruled by the other two members of Apollo’s executive committee, the firm’s other founders, Mr. Black and Marc Rowan.

And instead of succeeding Mr. Black as chief executive, after having served as one of Apollo’s most visible and hands-on managers, Mr. Harris lost out to Mr. Rowan, who had announced last year that he was taking a “semi-sabbatical” from the firm.

In March, however, Mr. Black — who had agreed to step down as chief executive in July, while remaining chairman — unexpectedly gave up all his duties. By then, however, Mr. Harris was seen as having less of a leadership role at the firm. It was Mr. Rowan who engineered Apollo’s takeover of Athene, a big insurance affiliate that is expected to bolster the firm’s investing power.

Mr. Harris was not on Apollo’s quarterly earnings call with analysts earlier this month, an absence noted by a participant on the call.

Mr. Harris will step down as soon as January, after Apollo completes the Athene deal, though he will remain a member of the firm’s board and its executive committee.

He is expected to focus on an array of other business interests, including his co-ownership of several professional sports franchises — including the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team — and his family office.

“I have become increasingly involved in these areas and knew that one day they would become my primary pursuit,” Mr. Harris wrote in an internal memorandum reviewed by The New York Times.

Ford’s new electric F-150, called the Lightning, is expected to go on sale next spring.
Credit…Ford

Ford unveiled an electric version of its popular F-150 pickup truck on Wednesday called the Lightning, signaling a shift in the auto industry’s electric vehicle push, which so far has been aimed at niche markets.

With an electric motor mounted on each of its axles, the vehicle will offer more torque — in effect, faster acceleration — than any previous F-150 and will be capable of towing up to 10,000 pounds, Neal E. Boudette reports for The New York Times. Its battery pack can put out 9.6 kilowatts of energy, making it able to power a home for about three days during an outage, according to Ford.

For contractors and other commercial truck users, the Lightning will be able to power electric saws, tools and lighting, potentially replacing or reducing the need for generators at work sites. It has up to 11 power outlets.

The truck is expected to go on sale next spring, with a starting price of $39,974 for a model that can travel 230 miles on a full charge. A version with a range of 300 miles starts at $59,974.

The truck’s base price is a few thousand dollars less than that of a Tesla Model 3 and even that of the company’s own Mustang Mach-E sport-utility vehicle. The total cost is lower still because buyers of Ford’s electric vehicles still qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit available for the purchase of E.V.s. Some states such as California, New Jersey and New York offer additional rebates worth as much as $5,000.

Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC, said on the most recent earnings call that the chain had been “within months or weeks of running out of cash” multiple times during the pandemic.
Credit…Philip Cheung for The New York Times

The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain furloughed its 3,100 employees during the pandemic, declared bankruptcy in December, shut down three theaters as part of its restructuring plan and halted a planned project in Orlando. AMC Entertainment’s chief executive, Adam Aron, said this month that the chain had been “within months or weeks of running out of cash five different times between April 2020 and January 2021.”

Now, theaters are trying to assure people that the troubles are over, Nicole Sperling reports for The New York Times. That movies are coming back, with a vengeance, and moviegoing should soon return to normal.

“It’s magic, what we do,” Tim League, Alamo’s founder, said in a phone interview. He acknowledged that his company got dangerously close to running out of money in December before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. “We’re in the business of creating the best possible viewing experience — to get lost in an amazing story and have heightened emotions around it. It’s amazing when it’s done right, and we’re in the business of doing it right. I know that people are craving a return to any kind of out-of-home experience, being with people and having a sense of rejoining the community.”

Some 70 percent of moviegoers are comfortable to returning to the theater, according to the exhibition research firm National Research Group. The box office for April hit $190 million, up 300 percent since February. That’s a welcome relief to the South African director Neill Blomkamp, whose new horror film “Demonic” from the indie outfit IFC will debut only in theaters at the end of August.

“This brings me joy,” he said in a video message. “I want people to be terrified in a darkened theater.”

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