Futures on major U.S. indices point to a lower opening on Thursday as oil prices continued surge due to continued turmoil and violence in Libya.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.63 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.46 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.64 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on initial jobless claims, durable goods orders and new home sales data to gauge the strength of recovery in the world’s largest economy.
The Commerce Department will release durable goods orders index for the month of January before markets open, where economists expect new orders for manufactured durable goods in January to gain by 3.0 percent compared to a 2.3 percent decline in December. Core durable goods orders, excluding transportation, are expected to increase 0.6 percent in January.
Meanwhile, weekly jobs report is expected to show that the initial jobless claims edged lower to 405,000 for the week ended Feb 19 against 410,000 of the previous week.
New home sales data for the month of January is due to be released after the markets open on Thursday. Economists have forecast sales of new single-family houses to be 310,000 for January against 329,000 in the previous month.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks sank for a second consecutive day in tandem with oil prices surging to 28-month highs as continued turmoil and violence in Libya shattered trader’s nerves.
The euro advanced 0.11 percent to 1.3764 against the dollar while the greenback declined 0.85 percent against the yen.
Crude oil futures gained 2.92 percent to $100.96/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.01 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 20.14 points, DAX30 down by 81.41 points and CAC 40 down by 16.06 points.