Stock index futures slipped on Thursday as a jump in quarterly profit at JPMorgan Chase & Co
JPMorgan's second quarter results topped Wall Street's estimates, continuing a stream of reassuring news on bank earnings after Goldman Sachs Group
A day after Wall Street tallied its biggest three-day gain since March, the financial sector also found support in comments from U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who told reporters in Paris there is a very encouraging improvement in confidence in the overall stability of the financial system.
After meeting with French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, Geithner also said markets were functioning better, which he said as a good sign for the economy.
But the upbeat tone was confronted by a possible bankruptcy looming for small-business lender CIT
Talks between the government and CIT about a potential bailout collapsed on Wednesday, a reminder that fallout from the financial crisis and the recession is far from over.
In Paris, Geithner declined to comment directly on CIT.
The market is going to continue to look for fuel from earnings, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey. The concern is that CIT does not appear to be getting a government bailout.
S&P 500 futures were 1.7 points lower 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 rose 1 point, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 2 points.
Investors will be closely monitoring the weekly number of initial filings for jobless benefits, expected to come in unchanged from the previous week's 565,000. Continuing claims are expected to inch lower to 6.850 million from 6.883 million the week before. This key data is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Other data on tap for Thursday includes the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's release of its July business activity survey at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of -5.0 versus -2.2 in June.
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is scheduled to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives panel about the takeover of Merrill lynch by Bank of America at 10 a.m. EDT.
On the earnings front, Google Inc
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)