Futures of U.S. stocks point to a subdued yet positive start to the week’s final trading session following a three-day slump, while investors continue attempts to decipher the Federal Reserve’s next move on its stimulus program.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were up 0.04 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.03 percent while those on the Nasdaq 100 were up 0.16 percent. On Thursday, the DJIA fell 0.66 percent while the S&P 500 fell by 0.38 percent and the Nasdaq fell by 0.14 percent.
On Thursday, data on jobless claims showed that initial claims for unemployment benefits went up by 68,000 in the week ended Dec. 7 to 368,000. The consensus estimate, according to the Wall Street Journal, was for claims to have increased to 325,000 compared to 298,000 claims in the previous week.
“What really matters for the labor market is not so much what’s happening on the layoff side but the hiring front. Until firms get more aggressive about adding workers, there is no reason to get excited,” Stephen Stanley, an economist at Pierpont Securities, told MarketWatch.
On Friday, the producer price index, or PPI, for November is scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. EST and the index is expected to have rebounded from October’s four-year low of 0.3 percent to around 1 percent in November, according to Capital Economics.
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The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17-18 where a decision is expected to be made on a timetable for winding down the Fed's $85 billion monthly bond-buying program.
In Europe, stocks were mostly in positive territory with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading up 0.08 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.05 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.17 percent while France's CAC-40 was up 0.09 percent.
In Asia, stocks were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei ending the day up 0.4 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.71 percent. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.31 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.12 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was down 0.26 percent while India’s BSE Sensex fell 1 percent.