Dow Futures in Limbo as Fed’s Powell Kicks Off Jackson Hole Symposium

U.S. stock futures were on edge Thursday, as investors awaited further direction from the Federal Reserve.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell kicks off virtual Jackson Hole Symposium on Thursday. | Image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

  • Dow Jones futures were down slightly in the pre-market session.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman will deliver a speech shortly that could have implications on monetary policy.
  • U.S. jobless claims hold above 1 million in the latest week.

Futures on the Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded lower Thursday morning, as investors awaited new developments on the stimulus and monetary policy fronts.

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Futures Slip

Futures on all three major U.S. indexes traded slightly lower on Thursday. The mini Dow Jones futures contract declined 32 points or 0.1% ahead of the New York open.


U.S. stock futures traded slightly lower in the pre-market session. | Chart:


September futures contracts for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Wednesday, underpinned by soaring technology and communication stocks.

Monetary Policy, Economy in Focus

The New York trading session will likely be driven by speculation about monetary policy and stimulus following Jerome Powell’s virtual presentation this morning. The Federal Reserve Chairman will introduce a new pandemic-era tool to combat low inflation and weak economic growth.

Powell’s speech kicks off the 2020 Jackson Hole Symposium, an annual economic forum hosted by the Kansas City Fed.

The 2020 symposium is titled, “Navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy.” The entirely digital forum will be held online Thursday and Friday.

In economic data, the Commerce Department’s second reading of Q2 GDP revealed a contraction of 31.7% annually. That’s a modest improvement from the 32.5% contraction reported last month. Watch the video below for more.

Meanwhile, just over 1 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. Jobless claims have topped 1 million in back-to-back weeks, ending a four-month streak of declining applications.

More than 58 million people have filed for unemployment claims since the week ended March 20. Millions face the prospect of permanent job losses due to the widescale restructuring of the U.S. economy following the early-spring lockdowns.

Small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the lockdown, with as many as 7.5 million entities at risk of permanent closure, according to a Main Street America survey. Although larger companies have been more resilient, many have been forced to make drastic job cuts.

On Wednesday, American Airlines said it would cut 19,000 jobs in October once a government lifeline expires. Last month, United Airlines said it could reduce its workforce by up to 36,000.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:28 PM

Sam Bourgi: Financial Editor of, Sam Bourgi has spent the past decade focused on economics, markets, and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE, Yahoo Finance, and Forbes. Sam is based in Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at or at LinkedIn.