Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are seen opening largely flat Thursday, as investors await the release of the weekly jobless numbers ahead of next week’s much anticipated Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting.
The main Wall Street indices closed in a mixed fashion Wednesday, with the broad-based S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite handing back some of their gains from the recent rally, closing 0.4% and 1.3% lower, respectively. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was the outlier, gaining just under 100 points, or 0.3%.
Fed meeting looms large
With corporate earnings winding down and the debt ceiling drama in Washington resolved, next week’s Fed meeting is going to be the next major driver of sentiment.
The U.S. central bank is still seen pausing its year-long rate-hiking cycle on June 14, but expectations are growing that it will announce one more hike this year, probably in July, especially after both the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Canada stunned markets earlier this week with 25 basis-point increases.
Jobless claims data due ahead of next week’s CPI release
Friday’s jobs report showed that the U.S. labor market remains healthy, and more information on that front is due later in the session with the weekly jobless claims . These are expected to come in around 235,000 for last week, largely unchanged from the previous week.
The next major release, however, will be the May U.S. consumer price index next Tuesday, which could be influential in determining whether policymakers choose to hike interest rates or push pause on further tightening.
GameStop slumps after CEO outing
In corporate news, the earnings season is rapidly drawing to a close, but results are still expected from the likes of Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG ) and remote signature software maker DocuSign (NASDAQ: DOCU ).
Elsewhere, GameStop Corp (NYSE: GME ) stock slumped 18% after the troubled video game retailer announced that it had "terminated" Chief Executive Officer Matt Furlong and appointed Ryan Cohen as executive chairman.
Oil volatile after mixed U.S. fuel inventories
Oil prices pushed higher Thursday, reversing earlier losses, as traders digested mixed U.S. fuel inventories as well as persistent concerns over the global demand outlook.
Official data, released Wednesday, showed that U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly fell during last week, helping to support the market.
The crude market has had a volatile week. Early gains on the back of Saudi Arabia’s surprise production cut have quickly dissipated after the release of weak Chinese trade data and a swathe of weak economic readings from the U.S. and eurozone, pointing to weak global demand.
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