Futures edge up after better-than-expected claims numbers

A Wall Street sign near the New York Stock Exchange

At 6:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 64 points, or 0.25%.

As is illustrated by the Dow's top-performing stocks, all eyes in recent weeks have been on the performance of the United States tech sector - with the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite breaking new highs, last trading at 10,492.

The S&P 500 was virtually flat after flipping between small gains and losses in the first 30 minutes of trading.

Quarterly earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to decline almost 44% year-on-year, the steepest drop since the 2008 financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.7% as big technology stocks continue to cruise on bets that they can keep growing nearly regardless of the economy's strength. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.5 points, or 0.14% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1 points, or 0.01%.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 10 new lows.

Wednesday's up-and-down trading was reminiscent of the market's moves over the last month, when Wall Street has largely churned in place.

Optimism is rising about a reopening USA economy, but virus case numbers are rising across much of the South and West.

Amazon added 2.7%, Apple rose 2.3% and Microsoft gained 2.2%.

Considering that very last week's close, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Composite are up 1.28%,.93% and 2.79%, respectively.

Roughly two in five stocks in the S&P 500 fell Wednesday, with several chemical and construction-related companies taking the hardest hits. This data came in slightly better than the market expectation of 1.37 million.

U.S. jobless claims came in at 1.3 million last week, an exceptionally high number historically speaking, but down 99,000 from the prior week, showing a steady decline as the world's largest economy gradually reopens and workers are recalled to their jobs.

Also, while coronavirus cases have continued to grow astronomically, the death rate in the much lower than in the earlier stage of the USA crisis.

Oil prices pushed modestly higher, with USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate rising half a per cent to US$40.83 per barrel. As of writing, IXIC was up 0.45% on the day at 10,540. The more actively traded contract for August delivery neared $1,830 during the day, the highest level since September 2011. Treasury yields and oil prices were also holding relatively steady.