Thursday brings a bunch of data including jobless claims, an estimate of third-quarter GDP and factory orders, close on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which described the nation’s economy expanding at a “modest to moderate pace” between early October and mid-November.
The next round of GDP and other economic data will be closely watched by investors to determine if it changes the Fed’s stance and outlook, and how that might affect its decision regarding the massive asset-purchase program and its monetary policy, which has come to be described as “ultra-loose.”
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were down 0.09 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.02 percent, and those on the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 0.16 percent. Wednesday’s performance marked the fourth consecutive fall for the Dow and S&P 500 while the Nasdaq barely managed to close in positive territory.
Scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. EST release today is the second estimate of the third-quarter GDP number. According to a Wall Street Journal estimate, the consensus is for a 3.1 percent quarterly growth, compared to a 2.8 percent reading in the previous quarter.
Jobless claims data for the week ended Nov. 30 are also due at 8:30 a.m., while data on factory orders for October are scheduled to be released at 10 a.m. EST.
In Europe, stocks were subdued ahead of announcements by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, which are scheduled for 7 a.m. EST and 7:45 a.m. EST respectively. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was trading down 0.13 percent and the FTSE 100 was down 0.07 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.04 percent and France's CAC-40 was down 0.07 percent.
In Asia, markets were down ahead of the data releases in the U.S. Japan’s Nikkei was down 1.5 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.17 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was down 0.21 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.07 percent, and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was down 0.1 percent. India’s BSE Sensex, on the other hand, ended the day up 1.2 percent.