U.S. stock futures traded slightly lower in early pre-market trade after the Dow Jones jumped around 600 points in the previous session. Investors are awaiting earnings results from The Kroger Co. KR. Best Buy Co., Inc. BBY, Broadcom Inc. AVGO and Costco Wholesale Corporation COST.
The Challenger job-cut report for February is scheduled for release at 7:30 a.m. ET, while data on initial jobless claims, nonfarm productivity and unit labor costs will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The final services PMI for February for February is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET, while data on factory orders and ISM services index will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify to the Senate Banking Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin is set to speak at 12:00 p.m. ET, while Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams will speak at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14 points to 33,835.00 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures slipped 3.75 points to 4,378.00. Futures for the Nasdaq index dropped 39.25 points to 14,200.00.
Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures rose 3.7% to trade at $117.07 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures climbed 3.4% to trade at $114.34 a barrel. US crude oil inventories dropped by 2.597 million barrels in the week ended February 25th, versus a 4.515 million increase in the prior period, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. The EIA’s weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, with total infections in the country exceeding 80,770,600 with around 979,720 deaths. India reported a total of at least 42,945,160 confirmed cases, while Brazil confirmed over 28,842,160 cases.
A Peek Into Global Markets
European markets were lower today. The STOXX Europe 600 Index fell 0.4%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 Index fell 1.1% and London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.3%. The French CAC 40 Index fell 0.3%, while German DAX dropped 0.7%. The IHS Markit Eurozone services PMI was revised lower to 55.5 in February from a preliminary reading of 55.8, while composite PMI was revised lower to 55.5 in February from a preliminary level of 55.8. Italy’s services PMI climbed to 52.8 in February, while unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in January. Germany’s services PMI was revised lower to 55.8 in February from a preliminary estimate of 56.6, while French services PMI fell to 55.5 in February from preliminary estimate of 57.9. The IHS Markit Spain services PMI climbed to 56.6 in February from 46.6 a month ago.
Asian markets traded mixed today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.70%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.55% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.09%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5%, while India’s BSE SENSEX fell 0.9%. The consumer confidence index in Japan fell to a 9-month low of 35.3 in February from 36.7 in the prior month, while composite PMI rose to 45.8 in February from the flash figure of 44.6. The Caixin China General Composite PMI came in at 50.1 in February. The IHS Markit Hong Kong PMI fell to 42.9 in February from 48.9 a month ago. Australian trade surplus widened to AUD 12.89 billion in January versus a revised AUD 8.82 billion in the prior month.
BMO Capital upgraded Ball Corporation BLL from Market Perform to Outperform and raised the price target from $87 to $105.
Ball shares rose 0.2% to $88.36 in pre-market trading.
- Splunk Inc. SPLK reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter and named Gary Steele as its new Chief Executive Officer.
- Ford Motor Co’s F Mustang Mach-E sales nearly halved in February, the automaker’s monthly sales data showed on Wednesday, posting a bigger drop than its gasoline counterpart.
- American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. AEO reported in-line earnings for its fourth quarter.
- KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc. KREF reported a 6 million share common stock offering.
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