On a day when Janet Yellen will deliver the second part of her testimony on the semi-annual monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, markets will also be looking at quarterly earnings and data on jobless claims and retail sales for further direction.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.36 percent and futures on the S&P 500 were also down 0.36 percent while those on the Nasdaq were down 0.38 percent. On Wednesday, the Dow slipped by 0.19 percent and the S&P 500 was nearly flat, down 0.03 percent, while the Nasdaq edged up 0.24 percent.
On the earnings front, PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), Nielsen Hldg NV (NYSE:NLSN) Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) are among those scheduled to declare quarterly earnings before markets open. Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ:KRFT) and Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) are among those scheduled to announce earnings after markets close.
Meanwhile, data on jobless claims for the week ended Feb. 8 and, retail sales for the month of January, are both scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. release. A report on business inventories in December is due at 10 a.m., and Yellen will address the Senate committee at 10:30 a.m.
In Europe, stocks were down after a six-day rally, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading down 0.6 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.64 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was down 0.23 percent and France's CAC-40 was down 0.29 percent.
In Asia too, markets were weaker with Japan’s Nikkei-225 falling 1.79 percent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.04 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.54 percent while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.55 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.46 percent, while India’s BSE Sensex dropped 1.25 percent.