Thursday October 7th


Wall Street wait on FED minutes

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday, with traders looking to the release of the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes for its September meeting, due at 2 p.m. ET. Although the minutes won't reflect the central bank's view on last Friday's weaker-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report, analysts said they will be watching to see how much the Fed was concerned about conditions overseas, particularly in China. Many market analysts expected the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade at its September meeting. The central bank's decision to hold off on a hike caused great uncertainty in markets about the Fed's view on domestic and global economic conditions. On the data front, weekly jobless claims declined to 263,000. On the earnings front, Domino's Pizza reported results that missed on both the top and bottom line. Alcoa, Helen of Troy and Ruby Tuesday are all due after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was flat on Thursday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished 0.99 percent lower. China saw markets reopen after its National Day holidays, with the Shanghai Composite closing 3.0 percent higher. Oil prices edged up on Thursday, nudged higher by a weaker dollar, while investors temporarily overlooked an unexpectedly large rise in U.S. inventory levels that could quickly push Brent back below $50 a barrel, analysts said. U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.1 million barrels to 461 million last week as refineries reduced production and idled capacity. Analysts had expected an increase of 2.2 million barrels. The oil price is set for a 7-percent gain this week, its largest weekly increase since late August, after oil industry executives warned that this year's fall below $50 would force higher-cost producers to reduce output. "Those expectations drove prices upwards, so that's being reassessed and it's possible we'll see prices dropping below $50 again," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said. Brent crude oil futures rose 54 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.87 a barrel by 8:52 a.m. EDT (1252 GMT), having touched a one-month high of $53.15 on Wednesday. U.S. crude futures rose 47 cents to $48.28 a barrel. Gold retreated from a two-week high and silver slumped 4 percent on Thursday on steadier European shares and after Chinese market participants returned from a week-long holiday, selling the metals to lock in profits. Spot gold eased 0.6 percent to $1,137.79 an ounce. The metal had climbed to $1,153.30 in the previous session, its highest since Sept. 24, due to a lower dollar.