By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - U.S. stocks are set to open solidly higher Thursday, rebounding after sharp losses Wednesday, helped by a recovery in energy prices on rising hopes of a truce in the Saudi-Russia oil price war.
At 7:00 AM ET (1100 GMT), futures for the S&P 500 traded 42 points, or 1.7%, higher, futures for the Nasdaq up 94 points, or 1.3%. The Dow futures contract rose 387 points, or 1.9%. The three main indices all fell 4.4% Wednesday.
Helping Thursday’s tone has been the hefty rise in the price of crude oil after U.S. President Donald Trump raised hopes of a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia to end their price war which has contributed to the price of oil slumping around 66% this year, making many U.S. oil producers uncompetitive.
At 7:00 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 10.2% higher at $22.38 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract climbed 10.5% to $27.32.
Trump said he had talked recently with the leaders of both Russia and Saudi Arabia and believed the two countries would make a deal within a "few days" - lowering production and bringing prices back up.
He also said he would be meeting with oil executives, where he is expected to discuss a range of options to help the industry.
Shares in oil major Chevron (NYSE:CVX) traded 6.3% higher pre-market, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) gained 5.8%, while ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) gained 9%.
That said, most eyes Thursday will be on the release of the latest unemployment data in the U.S. later in the session.
The weekly U.S. initial jobless claims, one of the earliest gauges of economic trends, jumped to 3.28 million last Thursday, blowing past the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982. This offered up the starkest evidence of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Economists now expect claims for first-time unemployment benefits to have jumped by 3.5 million last week, when the figures are released at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT).
The forecasts in a Reuters poll range from 1.5 million to 5.25 million, but Goldman Sachs said the number could be as high as 6 million.
Turning back to corporate news, the airline industry is likely to be the spotlight once more after President Trump said Wednesday that he is weighing grounding domestic flights between coronavirus hot spots.
Limited flights continue to run between some cities, though passenger counts have plummeted across the nation.
Additionally, gold futures gained 0.9% to $1,606.90/oz, while EUR/USD traded at $1.0917, down 0.4%.