Thursday February 2nd


US stock futures hold lower after economic data; earnings eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday as traders eyed a big day of earnings and digested economic data. On the earnings front, Estee Lauder, Delphi Automotive and International Paper are among the companies that reported before the bell., Amgen, Visa and GoPro are among companies set to report after the bell. On the data front, initial jobless claims fell 14,000 to 246,000. The print is also below a consensus estimate of 250,000. Fourth-quarter non-farm productivity rose 1.3 percent. Investors also looked ahead to the January jobs report, which is scheduled for release Friday morning. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.17 percent lower on Thursday. In oil markets Thursday, Brent crude was around $57.10 a barrel, up 0.53 percent, while U.S. crude was at $54.02 a barrel, up 0.24 percent. Asian stocks came under pressure on Thursday as investors flooded into safe haven plays as the administration of President Donald Trump moves on fronts as diverse as Iran, global trade, immigration and the Supreme Court less than two weeks after taking office. Japan's benchmark index lost 1.22 percent or 233.5 points to close down 18,914.58 as the investors bought into the yen, in turn strengthening the currency against the dollar. A stronger yen is generally seen as a negative for Japanese stocks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.65 percent by afternoon trading. Markets in China are closed and will reopen on Friday after a week-long Lunar New Year break. Gold hit its highest since mid-November on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve gave no clear signal on the likelihood of a March interest rate increase in its latest statement, prompting another drop in the dollar. The U.S. currency slipped to a 12-week low against a basket of currencies after the U.S. central bank gave an upbeat view on the economy but no hint of accelerating rate hikes. Spot gold rose to its highest since Nov. 17 at $1,223.62 an ounce and was up 1.1 percent at $1,222.56 by 1035 GMT. U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $16.80 at $1,225.10.