Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a lower opening on Thursday as European debt concerns resurfaced following Moody’s downgrade of Spain debt.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.41 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.27 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.54 percent.
Moody’s downgraded Spain’s debt by one notch to Aa2, citing concerns over the cost of restructuring of the country’s banking sector and also the government’s ability to reach its borrowing reduction targets. Also, the rating agency on Monday downgraded Greece’s sovereign debt by three notches from Ba1 to B1 with a negative outlook.
China swung to a surprise trade deficit in February of $7.3 billion, its largest in seven years, as the Lunar New Year holiday dealt an unexpectedly sharp blow to exports. Exports grew 2.4 percent in February against analysts estimation of 26.2 percent, while imports rose 19.4 percent against expectations of 32.3 percent.
On the economic front, the Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. The economists forecast initial jobless claims to be 382,000 for the week ended March 5 against 368,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.
On Wednesday, U.S stocks ended modestly lower in choppy trading as unfolding events in Libya and their impact on oil prices seem to be the overriding factors to most investors.
The euro declined 0.62 percent to 1.3823 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.27 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures declined 1.71 percent to $102.59 a barrel and gold futures declined 0.8 percent.