Stock futures slip as Wall Street takes a breather after strong start to September

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes slipped in extended trading Wednesday evening as investors looked to pare already-robust gains seen on Wall Street so far this week.

Dow futures shed 28 points at the start of the overnight session, pointing to a open just below the flatline when regular trading resumes Thursday morning in New York. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 contracts pointed to similar modest declines.

The after-hours action Wednesday came on the heels of yet another strong day for stocks during normal trading hours that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb 454 points, or 1.59%.

The rally lifted the blue-chip average above 29,000 for the first time since February and represented its single-best session since mid-July. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite clinched record closing levels.

The S&P 500 notched a similar advance of 1.54% as cyclical stocks — those that move in response to the health of the U.S. economy — outperformed. Materials stock DuPoint popped 5%, Verizon added 2.3% and Alaska Air climbed 3.3%.

Though high-flying names like Apple and Tesla fell 2% and 5.8%, respectively, their Wednesday losses only curb significant year-to-date gains for each stock. Still, not all tech names underperformed: Semiconductor stocks like Nvidia and Intel rose 3.8% and 2.8%. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductors ETF rose 2.6%.

Investors will pore over the latest look at jobless claims data on Thursday, when the Labor Department is set to release its weekly update on the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expect first-time applications to have decelerated to 950,000 during the week ending August 29. That would mark a reduction from the prior week’s print, which exceeded 1 million first-time applicants.

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