Stock Futures Moderately Lower Ahead of Key Economic Data

16 Sep 2021 · 3rd Party Analysis

Stock Futures Moderately Lower Ahead of Key Economic Data

WRITTEN BY ThorFX

In Summary

  • Stock futures mildly pressured ahead of the opening bell on Thursday
  • Retail sales data and jobless claims to highlight the pace of economic recovery in the US

Stock Futures Modestly Lower in Early Morning Trading

Stock index futures were mild to the downside in pre-market activity on Thursday. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped about 20 points. S&P500 futures and Nasdaq futures were marginally lower ahead of the bell in New York.

The quiet market environment early in the morning today follows a largely successful regular trading session. All three major US stock indexes on Wednesday finished in the green.

The S&P500 gained almost 0.9%, its biggest daily increase since the end of August. The energy sector jumped 3.8% to lead the gains among the 11 sectors in the broad-based market benchmark.

A solid rebound in the 30-stock Dow Jones pushed it higher by 236 points, supported by a rally in financials and industrials. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite surged 0.8%, fueled by a 1.68% rise in Microsoft shares.

Individual Stocks on the Run

Microsoft announced its board had approved to buy back as much as $60bn of its stock without setting a clear timetable for the repurchases. The software giant is one of the largest repurchasers of own stock in the S&P500.

Microsoft, America’s second-largest public company behind Apple, has bought back shares worth more than $23bn in the year ended June 30. Microsoft shares were marginally higher in extended trading.

Moderna stock advanced about 0.7% in after-hours trading after the vaccine maker released more data that supported the push for a third dose, so-called booster shot, of the Covid-19 jab.

Broadly, stocks have disappointed in September, following seven straight months of record-setting rallies and more than 50 new all-time highs for the S&P500 so far in 2021. In September, the S&P500 has lost about 0.9%. The blue-chip Dow Jones is lower by 1.6%, while the Nasdaq Composite is down 0.6% for the month.

Today’s Market Movers

Today, market participants will monitor the latest economic data from the US. The retail sales figures for August and the first-time filings for unemployment benefits are slated for release one hour before the regular trading session kicks off.

Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants, and online, is widely projected to fall in August for a third straight month. Supply chain disruptions and the resurgent Covid-19 outbreak are expected to have weighed on consumer spending.

Filings for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, reached a new pandemic low in the first week of September. The positive data encouraged the market that despite the uncertainty around Covid-19, employers are holding on to workers. Initial jobless claims for last week are forecasted to land at 330,000, slightly above the 310,000 reported the previous week.

Elsewhere in the Financial Markets

In other markets, European shares opened for trading on Thursday on a high note. The pan-European Stoxx 600 traded higher by about 0.5%, while major European bourses were all in the green.

Bitcoin’s price is pushing higher for a fourth consecutive day today. The leading token is aiming to regain $49,000 and it’s currently floating near $48,400. The sustained climb in the orange coin today comes after billionaire Ray Dalio commented that regulators could “kill” bitcoin if it became too successful.

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