MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Face A Struggle To Pull Out Of Oil-driven Selloff

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

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

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U.S. stocks were headed for another day in the red Thursday, with futures struggling to shake off gloom over the oil market as crude futures sank deeper into a bear market.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 26 points, or 0.1%, to 21,352, while those for the S&P 500 index lost 4.10 points, or 0.2%, to 2,429.25. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index gave up 6.50 points, or 0.1%, to 5,789.50.

A negative session on Thursday would mark a third straight day of losses for the S&P 500 and Dow average , after they both closed lower on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-for-2nd-day-in-red-as-oil-continues-to-roil-markets-2017-06-21)alongside another sharp fall in oil prices.

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.

The oil bear: Oil prices continued their descent on Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate futures dropping 0.2% to $42.44 to trade around a 10-month low. 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.

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On Wednesday, oil made brief gains following a Reuters report that Iran's oil minister said Iran and other OPEC members were considering further production cuts, but proved unable to hold onto those advances.

"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.

Economic news: A report on weekly jobless claims is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the May report on leading indicators at 10 a.m. Eastern. See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic).

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 9.7% 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 0.6% at $1,252.70.

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 dollar was slightly lower, with the ICE Dollar Index down 0.1% at 97.513.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 22, 2017 05:56 ET (09:56 GMT)