Thursday February 4th


Dow futures drop 100 on weaker oil, data

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday as traders watched oil and the dollar, which could be key to trading after they sent markets on a wild ride on Wednesday. Falling crude prices and the rising dollar have been poison to the stock market with both sapping corporate profits. But Wednesday saw stocks move higher as oil surged, while the dollar slumped amid speculation the Fed would hold off on further rate hikes. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $34.70 a barrel on Thursday morning, down by 1 percent, while U.S. crude was at around $32.15 a barrel, down by 0.4 percent. U.S. futures were slightly higher before oil prices turned lower. On the data front, weekly jobless claims came in higher than expected, while productivity fell at a faster pace than expected. Factory orders are also set to come out at 10:00 a.m. Investors also digested the latest Challenger, Gray & Christmas jobs cut report, which showed planned cuts last month surged to a six-month high. On the earnings front, LinkedIn, News Corp., Tableau Software and Outerwall are set to report after the bell. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished 0.85 percent lower, while the Shanghai Composite closed 1.55 percent higher in China. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.1 perceent lower. Gold edged up to a three-month high on Thursday, a day after its best day in two weeks, buoyed by expectations that global economic and financial headwinds could make it tough for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates in the near term. Commodities rallied across the board on Wednesday as the dollar tumbled after William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said that financial conditions have tightened considerably and the weakening global outlook could have "significant consequences" for the U.S. economy. Spot gold touched its highest since October, before trading up 0.7 percent at $1,151.21, after rallying 1.2 percent on Wednesday, the biggest daily gain since Jan. 20.