U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday as an earnings forecast from retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc
Wal-Mart shares dipped 0.9 percent to $54.49 in premarket trading after the world's largest retailer reported a higher quarterly profit but forecast earnings for the current period that could miss current Wall Street estimates.
The headline numbers for Wal-Mart look OK, but the outlook is still vague at this point ... Investors need a more clear forward-looking picture, said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston.
S&P 500 futures dipped 6.1 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 44 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 10 points.
Department store operator Kohl's Corp
Investors are also closely eyeing weekly claims for jobless benefits due at 8:30 a.m. EST.
Other macroeconomic indicators include the U.S. federal budget for October at 2 p.m. EST. The federal deficit is expected to hit $150 billion for the first month in the new budget year, headed toward another $1 trillion-plus tide of red ink.
Stocks to watch include network equipment maker 3Com Corp
Walt Disney Co
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)