U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Thursday, rebounding from Wednesday's decline, as investors await more economic data and monthly sales from retailers.
Investors will eye data on unemployment and productivity costs at U.S. companies, both due at 8:30 a.m. EDT <1230 GMT>. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect initial claims for unemployment benefits at 620,000 versus 623,000 last week, and a 1.2 percent rise in productivity.
Today will be the jobless claims, and we can squeeze in productivity costs there also, said Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ in New York. It's almost as if the market has become inured to bad jobs data. Psychologically, short term, an adjustment has taken place.
As retailers report monthly sales data for May, investors will look for evidence consumers are spending again, although most chains are expected to report declines in same-store sales.
S&P 500 futures up 1 point and were above 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 off 2 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.25 points.
Costco Wholesale Corp
By 7 a.m., at least 12 retailers had reported monthly sales results, with only two topping Wall Street estimates and seven missing, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Goldman Sachs raised its end-of-2009 oil price forecast to $85 a barrel from $65 and introduced a new end of 2010 forecast of $95, it said in a research note. Oil futures were up 1 percent. Exxon Mobil Corp
European equities edged up at midday on Thursday before an interest rate decision from the European Central Bank, driven by gains in banks, drugmakers and oil producers.
Asian shares fell from eight-month highs on Thursday, led by commodity-related stocks, after disappointing U.S. private employment and services sector data.
U.S. stocks tumbled Wednesday, halting a four-day winning streak, as falling oil prices hit energy shares, while less-than-upbeat economic reports rekindled worries about recovery prospects.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 65.63 points, or 0.75 percent, to 8,675.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> shed 12.98 points, or 1.37 percent, to 931.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 10.88 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,825.92.
Since reaching a bottom in early March, the Dow has gained 34.1 percent and the S&P has risen 39.7 percent.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)