MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Set To Struggle, But Oil Market Turns Slightly Higher

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq poised to join Dow, S&P in losing ground

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U.S. stock futures pointed to a soft start for Wall Street, with investors struggling to shake off the recent gloom hanging over the oil market even as crude futures rebounded in choppy trade.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 11 points, or less than 0.1%, to 21,365, while those for the S&P 500 index lost 1.85 point, or 0.1%, to 2,432. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index gave up 2.50 point, or less than 0.1%, at 5,793.50.

Index futures had traded in deeper negative territory earlier on Thursday morning, but started to pare losses after oil prices rebounded from a 10-month low. West Texas Intermediate oil futures climbed 0.5% to $42.76 a barrel, after trading as low as $42.26 earlier in the session.

On Tuesday, WTI slipped into bear-market territory, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak, as fears over rising supply from the U.S., Nigeria and Libya gripped the market.

On Wednesday, oil ended at the lowest level since August.

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"The weakness in the price of oil has wider ramifications than just 'Hey, great, we have cheaper oil.' Oil is a messenger, and it is saying 'deflation is a risk,'" said analysts at Stifel in a note.

They also noted that oil could be headed to $35 a barrel if global growth fails or central banks miscalculate.

The recent slump in oil weighed on the S&P 500 and Dow average on Wednesday, with both closing in negative territory for a second straight session. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-for-2nd-day-in-red-as-oil-continues-to-roil-markets-2017-06-21)

But the Nasdaq Composite Index escaped unscathed on Wednesday, rising 0.7% as biotech shares rallied. That move higher came after the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump has drafted an executive order (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/drug-stocks-surge-on-report-that-president-trump-plans-to-ease-industry-regulations-2017-06-21-139139) that would ease drug industry regulations.

Economic news and Fed speakers: A May report on leading indicators at 10 a.m. Eastern. See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic).

Earlier, a report on weekly jobless claims (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-edge-up-3000-to-24100-2017-06-22) showed that fewer than 250,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in mid-June, underscoring the strength of a U.S. jobs market whose biggest problem is a growing shortage of qualified worker.

Also at 10 a.m. Eastern, Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is expected to testify to the Senate Banking Committee on bank reform and economic growth.

Stock movers: Shares of Oracle Corp.(ORCL) leapt 11% ahead of the bell after its earnings out late Wednesday easily beat analyst expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-soars-toward-record-highs-after-earnings-beat-2017-06-21).

Read:Oracle leaps to record as cloud transition hits turning point (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-leaps-to-record-as-cloud-transition-hits-turning-point-2017-06-21)

Apple Inc.(AAPL) was up 0.1% in premarket trade. Imagination Technologies Group PLC(IMG.LN), which counts Apple as its biggest customer, said it has put itself up for sale (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imagination-shares-surge-16-after-putting-itself-up-for-sale-following-apple-dispute-2017-06-22) after a battle with the iPhone maker.

Other markets: Stock markets in Asia closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/metals-help-australian-stocks-rebound-other-asian-markets-calm-2017-06-21), with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index as the outperformer as metals rebounded. Gold was up 0.5% at $1,251.50.

All major European markets were lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-dragged-down-by-oil-shares-for-third-session-2017-06-22), weighed down by the drop in oil prices.

The ICE Dollar Index was slightly higher at 97.570.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 22, 2017 08:57 ET (12:57 GMT)