By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. weekly jobless claims come round again, as the dollar bounces and stocks and commodities fall in response to the Federal Reserve’s failure to offer any fresh monetary goodies. Airbnb’s IPO is back on, and Vladimir Putin’s most fearsome opponent is poisoned as the trouble in Belarus continues to bubble. Here’s what you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, August 20th.
1. Jobless claims due
Thursday means it’s time for the latest update on the health of the U.S. labor market. are expected to have fallen further last week to a new five-month low of 925,000, from 963,000 the week before.
, which are reported with a one-week time lag, are expected to fall by nearly half a million to 15.00 million.
However, while that would extend the positive trend, it only covers half the story. Last week’s data from the Labor Department showed 28 million Americans still claiming jobless benefits, when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance scheme is included.
The will also be released at the same time.
2 Dollar bounces, commodities sell off as Fed disappoints
The dollar bounced and commodities slipped after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting failed to give any clear hint of a shift to looser monetary policy. By 6:30 AM ET (1030 GMT), the was back above 93.000 and the was at $1.1836, over a cent below this week’s high.
were down 1.7% at around $1,934 an ounce and oil futures were down 1.1% at $42.63 a barrel.
The Fed warned that government may have to increase stimulus efforts to keep the economic recovery on track – putting the spotlight back on a still-deadlocked Capitol Hill.
San Francisco Fed President is due to speak at 1 PM ET (1700 GMT), where those still hungry for hints of easier money may yet be satisfied.
3. Stocks set to open lower despite Nvidia’s blowout quarter;
U.S. stock markets are set to open lower against a backdrop of disappointment over Fed policy, and the latest U.S. move against China. The administration said on Tuesday it will suspend reciprocal tax arrangements between the U.S. and Hong Kong in response to the effective ending of Hong Kong’s political autonomy.
By 6:30 AM ET, the contract was down 75 points, or 0.3%, while S&P 500 futures were down 0.3% and were down less than 0.1%.
Stocks in focus Thursday are likely to include NVIDIA (NASDAQ:), which fell 1.4% in premarket despite the chipmaker posting record sales in the past three months, due largely to demand for gaming and remote services.
There are also updates due from Chinese ecommerce giant , as well as cosmetics group and the controversial biotech startup .
4. AirBnb files for IPO
The year’s biggest IPO is back on. Airbnb said it has filed confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, rather than the direct listing that it had previously signalled it intended to pursue.
That means the company is likely to be selling new stock to strengthen its balance sheet, rather than just offering a cash-out for its early investors.
Airbnb was hit hard by the pandemic but its business has bounced back surprisingly quickly, with bookings up 6.7% on the year in July. However, when it sold debt earlier this year to shore up liquidity, the attached warrants converted into stock at a valuation of some $18 billion, barely half of the valuation in its last private funding round.
5. Russian opposition leader in suspected poisoning
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was hospitalized and reported to be unconscious and in a critical condition after a suspected poisoning.
The news will grab the attention of domestic opponents of President Vladimir Putin at a time when the prospect of Russian intervention in Belarus, with the attendant political shockwaves through Europe, is appearing increasingly likely.
Russian state media, having reported relatively cautiously on the violent crackdown following this month’s presidential elections, have now swung firmly behind President Alexander Lukashenko.
were the worst performers in Europe overnight, falling 2.2% to a 10-day low. The fell to a two-week low against the dollar.