Stock futures drop on worries over economy

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Thursday as commodities lost ground on worries about less demand after recent tepid economic data and ahead of Friday's key payrolls report.

U.S. crude futures slumped 2.6 percent to $106.43 and ICE Brent futures shed 2.9 percent to $117.73, while silver was poised for its largest weekly fall in over 20 years. Mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc dipped 2 percent to $50.10 in premarket trade.

Investors awaited weekly jobless claims, with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting a total of 410,000 new filings, compared with 429,000 in the prior week.

Also coming are monthly retail sales, showing the extent of consumer spending. U.S. warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp posted a better-than-expected 12 percent rise in April sales, helped by higher gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies.

We can pretty much be assured that this is a more or less jobless recovery. The ADP showed that, the ISM data on services yesterday showed that, and combine that with food prices escalating and of course, gas prices going up, it leaves very little room for the consumer to grow, said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

We are going to get some temperature today on the consumer, and that is our biggest fear, the consumer is just not able to spend.

S&P 500 futures lost 4.9 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 dropped 40 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 7.5 points.

General Motors Co dipped 0.7 percent to $32.80 in premarket trade after the automaker posted first-quarter earnings.

Whole Foods Market Inc's quarterly profit topped Wall Street's view and the grocer raised its full-year profit forecast. Shares rose 4.8 percent to $62.60 in premarket trade.

Electronic Arts Inc advanced 1.7 percent to $20.25 premarket after the video game publisher said revenue rose and it raised its quarterly outlook, citing higher sales of games Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2.

Investors awaited company results from Kraft Foods Inc , American International Group Inc and Visa Inc .

Through Wednesday, with 386 of the S&P 500 companies having reported, 68 percent had profits that beat Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

European shares hit a two-week low as banks fell following disappointing earnings news, with Lloyds slipping on a surprise $5.3 billion provision and Societe Generale missing profit forecasts.

Asian shares were down for the third consecutive day on a drop in commodities, moving further away from a three-year high tested last week.

Weak economic figures heightened stock investors' anxiety over the extended rally, knocking U.S. shares lower for a third day on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Join the Discussion