Futures retreat as trade tensions add to pandemic woes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday as growing trade tensions with China added to worries about the pace of a recovery from a coronavirus-fueled economic slump even with several countries easing lockdowns.

Simmering tensions between the world’s two biggest economies over the origin of the novel coronavirus have slowed a Wall Street rally this month, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have still inched up to hit multi-month highs amid some optimism over economic recovery.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at Beijing, calling the $2 billion it has pledged to fight the pandemic as “paltry”.

Investors are also awaiting the latest weekly jobless claims data, which is due at 8:30 a.m. ET and is expected to show millions more Americans filing for unemployment benefits due to layoffs and mass furloughs as a result of the lockdown.

Still, claims have gradually declined since hitting a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28 and Thursday’s report could offer early clues on how quickly businesses re-hire as they reopen.

At 06:25 a.m. EDT, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 152 points, or 0.62%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 19 points, or 0.64%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 55.75 points, or 0.59%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 0.56%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed up 1.67% at 2,971.61​ on Wednesday.

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