U.S. stock-index futures briefly pared losses Thursday morning, but were still holding sharply lower, after a report on weekly jobless claims came in at a record level, reflecting the temporary closures of businesses across the nation due to the coronavirus outbreak. The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits last week rocketed to a record 3.28 million, according to the most recent report, from 282,000 claims in the prior week period. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMM20, -0.45% DJIA, +2.39% were down 217 points, or 1%, at 20,817, those for the S&P 500 index ESM20, -0.84% SPX, +1.15% fell 1% at 2,441, while the Nasdaq-100 futures NQM20, -0.57% COMP, -0.45% declined 0.9% at 7,401. The seasonally adjusted increase in initial jobless claims from March 15 to March 21 was the largest ever, easily crushing the previous record of 695,000 in 1982. Just a few weeks ago, new claims hovered in the low 200,000s and stood near a 50-year low.
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