Wall Street to open lower on economy concerns

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stocks were set for a lower open on Thursday as weak labor data rekindled concerns about the strength of the consumer and the economic recovery.

Initial jobless claims rose to an eight-month high last week, and productivity growth slowed in the first quarter.

The (market) momentum already being on the downside, it is going to put some pressure, not so much on the dollar but definitely on the economic expectations for growth, said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

S&P 500 futures lost 9 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 72 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 14.75 points.

We are seeing it hit oil, we are seeing it hit gold, materials. Those groups have been the market leaders. So even though it's good news in the long run if gasoline prices come down, the short term it is bringing down the energy stocks which really were the leaders of this bull market rally, Pado added.

Exxon Mobil Corp dipped 1.6 percent to $83.48 in premarket trading, and Chevron Corp lost 1.5 percent to $103.15.

U.S. crude futures fell 2.9 percent to $106.43 and ICE Brent futures lost 3.1 percent to $117.41, while silver was poised for its largest weekly fall in over 20 years.

Mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc dipped 1.6 percent to $50.31 in premarket trade.

Retail stocks were also in focus as investors digested monthly sales from chain stores for clues on consumer spending. Target Corp edged down 0.4 percent to $49.02 after posting April sales results.

General Motors Co fell 1.3 percent to $32.60 in premarket trade after the automaker posted first-quarter earnings.

Whole Foods Market Inc's quarterly profit topped Wall Street's view and the grocer raised its full-year profit forecast. Shares rose 3.8 percent to $61.99 in premarket trade.

Electronic Arts Inc advanced 5.4 percent to $20.99 premarket after the video game publisher said revenue rose and it raised its quarterly outlook, citing higher sales of games Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2.

Investors awaited company results from Kraft Foods Inc , American International Group Inc and Visa Inc after the close.

Through Wednesday, with 386 of the S&P 500 companies having reported, 68 percent had profits that beat Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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