Futures Pointing To Modestly Lower Open On Wall Street

After moving mostly higher over the two previous sessions, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 0.1 percent.

A slump by shares of Micron Technology (MU) may weigh on the markets, as the chipmaker is tumbling by 4.4 percent in pre-market trading.

The steep drop by Micron comes after the company reported better than expected fiscal third quarter results but provided guidance that disappointed investors.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are also seeing significant pre-market weakness after the retail pharmacy company reported fiscal third quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates and lowered its full-year profit outlook.

Overall trading activity is likely to remain somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to the release of closely watched inflation data on Friday.

On the U.S. economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended June 22nd.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 233,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 239,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 236,000 from the 238,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a report showing new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods unexpectedly crept higher in the month of May.

The report said durable goods orders inched up by 0.1 percent in May after rising by a downwardly revised 0.2 percent in April.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to slip by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding an increase orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders edged down by 0.1 percent in May after climbing by 0.4 percent in April. Ex-transportation orders were expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher on Wednesday after a somewhat sluggish session as investors made cautious moves while awaiting the release of the personal consumption expenditures price index report on Friday.

The major averages all closed on the positive side. Technology stocks outperformed, lifting the Nasdaq by 87.50 points or 0.5 percent, to 17,805.16. The Dow ended up by 15.64 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 39,127.80, while the S&P 500 settled at 5,477.60, gaining 8.60 points or 0.2 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.46 to $81.36 a barrel after inching up $0.07 to $80.90 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after sliding $17.60 to $2,313.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $18 to $2,331.20 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 160.40 yen versus the 160.81 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0713 compared to yesterday’s $1.0681.

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