Stock index futures edged lower on Thursday ahead of data expected to show that the U.S. economy shrank in the second quarter while the number of jobless claims improved slightly.
The second reading of gross domestic product in the second quarter, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is forecast to be revised downward to minus 1.5 percent on an inflation-adjusted annualized basis, compared with an original reading of minus 1.0 percent.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits are expected to have dropped to 565,000 in the week to August 22 from 576,000 the previous week. Last week's unexpected rise added to concerns that an economic recovery would be anemic at best. The data is also expected at 8:30 a.m.
Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in New York, doesn't expect any surprises in the numbers. But the market has come a very long way, and I think now investors are less focused on whether numbers are in line, and looking for some evidence of a true recovery, he said.
Investors are looking whether the consumer is coming out of the slump of the last six months, Meckler said. One clue will be Dell.
S&P 500 futures fell 1 point and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.25 points while Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 7 points.
Crude oil futures dropped for a third straight session and traded as low as $70.81 per barrel, a decline of 4.8 percent from Monday's settling price.
American International Group Inc
U.S. investors stayed cautious on Wednesday after a rally that has taken the market to 10-month highs. Stocks were little changed despite solid reports on new home sales and durable goods orders.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)