U.S. stock index futures pointed to a solidly lower open on Thursday, as a stronger dollar pressured commodities and investors awaited weekly jobless claims data.
Sears Holding Corp
With the unemployment rate above 10 percent and seen holding the economy back from a stronger recovery, investors will seek insight into the labor market with the release of weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. EST. Analysts expect initial claims of 505,000, which would represent an increase from 502,000 posted last week.
December crude futures fell nearly 1 percent as gains in the dollar weighed on prices, and investor sentiment was pressured by doubts about the pace of economic recovery.
The dollar index <.DXY> rose 0.4 percent as global equities slipped from the top of their recent range and commodity markets fell, encouraging investors to pare back exposure to risky assets.
Commodities are lower across the board, which in turn is adding to equity pressure, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in North Brunswick, New Jersey. The equity markets are pausing this morning as they are evaluating the dollar carry trade.
S&P 500 futures fell 9.6 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 67 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 13.75 points.
Semiconductor stocks looked to be pressured after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cut its 2010 growth outlook for the industry, citing a modest overshoot in global supply chain inventories.
The firm also downgraded several stocks in the sector, including Dow component Intel Corp
Late Wednesday, heath insurer Aetna Inc
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks broke a three-day streak of gains, after worrisome outlooks from two major software makers and after a surprising drop in October home construction.
(Additional reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)