Happy Thursday. Today is August 6th and stock futures trim losses after better-than-expected jobless claims data is reported, which totaled 1.186 million vs. 1.42 million. Rural Airbnb bookings are surging as vacationers are escaping the coronavirus pandemic. Beirut mourns the victims of the catastrophic blast and pushes for answers over missed warnings. Manhattan apartment deals plunge while suburban real estate surges and the White House threatened executive action if it fails to reach a coronavirus relief deal with Democrats.
Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes trimmed losses on Thursday after the release of better-than-expected unemployment data. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 14 points after being down more than 100 points. S&P 500 futures traded flat and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.1%.
Weekly jobless claims hit their lowest level of the pandemic area, totaling 1.186 million last week, well below Wall Street expectations. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.42 million.
As the coronavirus devastated the global travel industry, Airbnb laid off nearly 25% of its employees, raised emergency debt funding and at least temporarily shelved its highly anticipated IPO. The one bright spot: Rural hosts are seeing huge surges in business. According to Airbnb, hosts in rural areas of the U.S. earned over $200 million in June 2020 — an increase of more than 25% from the previous June.
The enormous explosion that ripped through the Lebanese capital, Beirut, killed at least 135 people and injured around 5,000, according to Lebanon’s health minister. It is estimated that up to 250,000 people have lost their homes as a result of the blast. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for an independent investigation into the blast.
The number of signed contracts for co-ops and condos in Manhattan dropped 57% in July compared with a year ago, according to a report from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. The high-end of the market is getting especially hard hit, with co-ops priced between $4 million and $10 million down over 75%. The number of unsold apartments is now at the highest level in almost a decade, according to Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel.
Democrats and the Trump administration will meet again about coronavirus relief Wednesday after making what Chuck Schumer called “concessions.” The White House reportedly increased its offer for unemployment insurance payments, while Democrats reduced their request for Postal Service funding. As Republicans are divided over coronavirus aid, some GOP senators have said they are prepared to accept the agreement Democrats and the Trump administration reach.