Facebook fallout, trade fears — What you need to know in markets on Thursday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

What. A. Day.

On Wednesday morning, U.S. stock futures were down more than 500 points as investors’ fears over a trade war breaking out between the U.S. and China appeared to be peaking.

And then markets turned around in a big way and each of the major averages closed higher, with only the Dow adding less than 1% for the session.

The Dow gained 230 points, or 0.9%, while the S&P 500 rose 30 points, or 1.1%, and the Nasdaq rose 100 points or 1.4%.

Boeing (BA) lost 1% on Wednesday and was the Dow’s biggest loser as new tariffs announced by China on Wednesday would include duties on imported aircraft. Comments from President Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow that Trump is a “free trader at heart” appeared, however, to allay some of the market’s concerns.

Facebook (FB), however, still trailed the market, losing 1% as the company announced two separate new initiatives related to user privacy. The company also said that user data from 87 million Facebook users “may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica,” more than the 50 million users that had been previously reported by the media.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that while threats by users and advertisers have so far had “no meaningful impact” on its business or usage, it is still “not good.”

On Thursday, Facebook and trade are still likely to be major market drivers with investors looking at an economic calendar that will feature only the weekly report on initial jobless claims and earnings out of Monsanto (MON), Conn’s (CONN), and WD-40 (WDFC).

Thursday’s data on initial claims will be the second of three-straight labor market reports that are expected to affirm the strength of the economy and the U.S. job-creating machine.

On Wednesday, ADP’s latest reading on private payroll growth in March showed 241,000 jobs were added to the economy during the third month of the year, topping expectations for 210,000 jobs to be created.

This report comes ahead of Friday’s official jobs report from the Labor Department, which is expected to show 185,000 jobs were created in March.

“The job market is rip-roaring,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Monthly job growth remains firmly over 200,000, double the pace of labor force growth. The tight labor market continues to tighten.”

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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