U.S. Futures Edge Higher; Jobless Claims and Cisco Earnings in Focus

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U.S. Futures Edge Higher; Jobless Claims and  Cisco Earnings in Focus
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Thursday, rebounding to near record levels on the back of a positive earnings season ahead of the latest unemployment data.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 Futures traded 15 points, or 0.3%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 90 points, or 0.6%.

The three major indices weakened Wednesday, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping over 200 points, or 0.6%, and both the broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite falling 0.3%.

Still these gauges remain near record highs, helped by generally strong corporate results as the global economy reopens and central banks still operate an accommodative monetary policy stance. The Dow is just 1.7% below its all-time high and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are 0.6% and 0.8% from their records, respectively.  

That said, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will start tapering its bond-buying program, and the speed it does this will likely influence when the U.S. central bank first lifts interest rates.

The latest illustration of the strength of the U.S. labor market is due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), with weekly initial jobless claims expected to fall to 260,000 claimants last week, from 267,000 the week before.

Additionally, the regional presidents from Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Atlanta will all speak during the day.

Turning to the corporate sector, retailers will once again be in focus Thursday, with department stores Macy’s (NYSE: M ) and Kohl's (NYSE: KSS ) reporting, while Chinese e-commerce giant JD (NASDAQ: JD ) benefited from a fresh surge in online shopping due to a wave of Covid-related lockdowns in the third quarter.

Elsewhere, network equipment maker Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) disappointed with its revenue growth forecast, citing the semiconductor shortage as well as higher transport and logistics costs, while Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA ), the world's biggest maker of graphics and AI chips, forecast strong fourth-quarter revenue, expecting rapid growth in its data center business.

Crude prices fell Thursday, continuing the sharp losses of the previous session, following a Reuters report that the U.S. is trying to arrange a coordinated release of strategic reserves by a number of major crude consumers in order to bring prices down.

China's state reserve bureau confirmed Thursday that it was working on a release of crude oil reserves. 

{{8849|U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels last week, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which came as something of a surprise to a market expecting a build of 1.4 million barrels. 

By 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% lower at $77.30 a barrel, after dropping 3% during the last session, while the Brent contract fell 0.3% to $80.01, after falling 1.7% on Wednesday. Both benchmarks recorded their lowest settlement levels since early October. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,865.90/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.1344.


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