Market Snapshot: Dow gathers strength for a rally after 3-day skid

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U.S. stock futures pointed to a modest rise at the open Thursday, putting the Dow industrials on track to recover from a three-day skid that has been blamed in large part on trade-war fears.

Several economic releases are due to arrive in the morning, covering jobless claims, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index and more.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMH8, +0.12% rose 76 points, or 0.3%, to 24,864, while S&P 500 futures ESH8, -0.02% gained 5.85 points, or 0.2%, to 2,759.75. Nasdaq-100 futures NQH8, -0.11% tacked on 12.25 points, or 0.2%, to 7,070.25.

On Wednesday, the Dow DJIA, -1.00% closed lower by 249 points, or 1%, as the S&P 500 SPX, -0.57% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.19% also lost ground. Analysts blamed much of the selling on trade-war worries.

The Dow and S&P have fallen for three straight sessions, cutting their year-to-date gains to 0.2% and 2.8%, respectively, while the Nasdaq is up 8.6% for the year.

What’s driving markets?

Worries are persisting this week about a potential global trade war, after President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will seek to trim the U.S.’s trade deficit with China by $100 billion, a day after saying he wants to impose up to $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

Read more: How investors can protect against a trade war — in one sentence

The economic reports due Thursday also could provide trading cues, but no Federal Reserve officials are expected to give speeches.

Four releases are on tap at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time: U.S. weekly jobless claims, a February reading on import prices, a March figure for the Philly Fed’s manufacturing index and March data from the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 228,000 claims.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

At 10 a.m. Eastern, investors are due to receive a March figure for a housing-market index.

What are strategists saying?

“Investors are growing increasingly nervous as Trump rebuilds a White House team which is more in line with his interventionist approach to foreign policy, and as reports surfaced that Trump is looking to put $60 billion of tariffs in imported goods from China, no longer just steel and aluminium,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, in a note.

“This is expected to be the last straw for China, with retaliation to this latest move almost a given.”

See: Go big on stocks as Trump has 1 huge reason not to launch a trade war

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Boeing Co. BA, -2.48% could see active trading. The aerospace giant is on track for its biggest weekly decline in over two years, as concerns over the potential negative effects of President Donald Trump’s tariff plan weigh.

Shares in Solid Biosciences Inc. SLDB, -0.49% look set for a plunge after the maker of muscular-dystrophy treatments announced a clinical trial had been put on hold.

Dollar General Corp.’s stock DG, -0.37% is likely to see active trading as the dollar-store chain is expected to post earnings before the open.

What are other assets doing?

European stocks SXXP, -0.01% mostly gained, after Asian markets finished mixed.

Gold futures GCJ8, -0.20% edged lower, while oil futures CLJ8, +0.61% and the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.01% inched higher.

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