Here’s what we are watching as markets kick into gear Thursday.—U.S. stock futures rose as investors cheered signs of progress toward a fresh stimulus package. New data showed 885,000 people made initial jobless claims last week, more than economists had expected. It marked a second consecutive week of increases, and suggested the economy was entering a winter slowdown.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.4%, suggesting the benchmark stocks gauge may rise for a third-straight day at the opening bell. The S&P 500 closed at its second-highest level ever on Wednesday. Futures tied to the technology-focused Nasdaq-100 also rose 0.5%.