RTTNews - Stocks may turn in another lackluster performance during trading on Thursday after showing a lack of direction throughout the previous session. The major index futures are currently indicating a slightly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up 17 points.
Traders continue to have questions about the outlook for the markets in spite of the release of some key economic data. A number of traders are likely to stay on the sidelines amid a lack of significant corporate news.
While the Commerce Department released its second estimate of gross domestic product in the second quarter, the pace of decline in economic activity was unrevised from the advance estimate.
The report showed that GDP decreased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second quarter, unchanged from the 1.0 percent decrease originally reported in late July. Economists had been expecting GDP to be revised to show a decrease of 1.5 percent.
The Commerce Department said upward revisions to exports, residential fixed investment, consumer spending, and government spending were offset by downward revisions to private inventory investment and to nonresidential fixed investment.
Separately, the number of people filing for first-time unemployment claims edged down last week, according to a report released by the Labor Department, although jobless claims remain at a relatively high level.
The report showed that jobless claims edged down to 570,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 580,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 565,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, fell to 6.133 million for the week ended August 15, the most recent week for which the government has data.
On the corporate front, Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL) reported a third-quarter net loss of $2.93 per share compared to a net loss of $0.18 per share in the year ago quarter. Wall Street analysts expected the company to report a loss of $1.74 per share. Revenues for the quarter totaled $461.4 million, which beat forecast of $460.2 million for the quarter.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) reported second quarter net income of $0.14 per share compared to $0.29 per share last year. The earnings came in line with estimates, while quarterly revenues of $657.6 million fell short of the consensus estimate of $659.56 million.
In other news, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it would reduce the price of its high-end X-Box 360 model by as much as $100 in an effort to match the price of rival Sony (SNE), which reduced the price of its Playstation 3 by a comparable amount last week.
Stocks finished Wednesday's session little changed, with the day's trading marred by choppy movement despite largely positive news on the economic front. The Dow closed up by 4 points at 9,544, the Nasdaq gained 0.20 points to finish at 2024 and the S&P 500 rose by 0.12 to 1,028.
Crude oil futures are sliding in early commodities trading, falling by $0.25 to $71.18 a barrel after moving modestly lower in the previous session. Meanwhile, the price of gold is moving higher, advancing by $4.40 to $948.90 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed versus the major European currencies, falling to $1.4258 versus the euro and moving up to $1.620 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar has slipped against the yen, trading at 93.82 yen.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly lower on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slid by 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed down by 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are mixed, with the German DAX Index falling by 0.1 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
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