Stocks in the U.S. could be in for a mixed opening on Friday, after a fall in jobless claims in the U.S. lead to fresh doubts about the future of the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus, especially following recent comments by Fed officials hinting at a quicker end to the bond-buying program than was earlier expected.
Publication of wholesale inventories data later on Friday, and a raft of positive economic data released by China earlier in the day, which provided fresh signs of stabilization in that country’s economy, are also expected to influence markets during the day.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.24 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.27 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.16 percent.
Investors are expected to watch the wholesale inventories report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Friday at 10 a.m. EDT. The wholesale inventories report, which measures the change in the total value of goods held in inventory by wholesalers, is expected to increase by 0.4 percent in June after a 0.5 percent decline in May -- its largest fall since 2011.
On Thursday, U.S. markets had ended slightly higher after three consecutive sessions of losses, following an upbeat jobless claims report, strong corporate earnings from companies such as Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), and positive trade balance data from China, all of which lifted investor sentiments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.18 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed up 0.39 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index ended up 0.41 percent.
European markets also were trading mixed on Friday with the Stoxx Europe 600 index up 0.13 percent, London’s FTSE 100 up 0.26 percent, Germany's DAX-30 down 0.06 percent and France's CAC-40 trading down 0.08 percent.
In Asia, markets traded mixed, even as better-than-expected consumer price inflation and industrial production data from China pointed toward an acceleration in growth.
Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the consumer price inflation index, or CPI, rose 2.7 percent from a year-ago period in July and remained unchanged from June levels. Producer prices fell by 2.3 percent in July, after falling 2.7 percent in the previous month, marking the longest stretch of deflation by this measure since 2002.
A separate of set of data released by the government, on Friday, showed that China's industrial production, or IP, grew 9.7 percent year-on-year in July -- at its fastest pace since February. In comparison, China's IP grew by 8.9 percent in June and analysts had estimated a 9 percent gain in July. Retail-sales growth disappointed somewhat by slowing slightly to 13.2 percent in July, compared to a forecast of a 13.5 percent gain, and down from the 13.3 percent growth in June.
Chinese shares gained with the Shanghai Composite index ending up 0.36 percent and the Hang Seng index ending up 0.70 percent. Japan’s Nikkei ended flat, South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index lost 0.17 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed down 0.19 percent. Indian markets were closed for Eid al-Fitr.