After Wednesday’s steep fall, futures hint at a mixed and subdued open to trading, which could give way to some action based on how data on jobless claims and retail sales impact investor sentiment.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were up 0.08 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were down 0.04 percent while those on the Nasdaq were down 0.01 percent. On Wednesday, the DJIA fell 0.81 percent while the S&P 500 fell by 1.13 percent and the Nasdaq fell by 1.4 percent.
Data on jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 7 are due at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday. The consensus estimate, according to the Wall Street Journal, is for claims to have increased to 325,000 compared to 298,000 claims in the previous week.
"Jobless claims are coming down but holiday adjustments raise uncertainty for the latest week," the Journal's data calendar website noted, noting that the "Labor Department warned that this year's late Thanksgiving is clouding the accuracy of its seasonal adjustments."
Retail sales data, which measure total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to consumers, is expected to report a monthly growth of 0.6 percent in November, compared to a 0.4 percent rise in the previous month, according to a Journal estimate. Retail sales data are also due at 8:30 a.m. EST.
“A big jump in auto sales is likely to have contributed to a 1.2% m/m surge in total retail sales in November,” Capital Economics wrote in a note, adding that, “We expect a 0.5% m/m gain in sales excluding autos, gasoline and building materials.”
The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17-18.
In Europe, stocks were down with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading down 0.6 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.78 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was down 0.58 percent while France's CAC-40 was down 0.22 percent.
In Asia too, stocks were down across the board with Japan’s Nikkei ending the day down 1.12 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.82 percent. The Shanghai Composite index dipped 0.06 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.51 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was down 0.51 percent while India’s BSE Sensex fell 1.16 percent.