Reuters

(Reuters)

Stock Futures Lower Ahead of Economic Data

Markets Reuters

U.S. stock index futures kicked off December on a somber note ahead of a raft of data that would offer more clues on the strength of the economy.

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Oil prices were up 1 percent, building on a 9 percent gain from a day earlier after major producers decided to cut output and support prices.

Gains in energy shares pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 to all-time highs on Wednesday, but Wall Street lost momentum due to losses in utility and technology stocks. The Dow closed slightly higher, while the S&P and the Nasdaq finished the day in negative territory.

Economic data on tap include the ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI), which likely rose to 52.2 in November from 51.9 the previous month. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Investors will also get a reading on weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET and automakers will release their monthly sales reports through the day.

The Labor Department's report on monthly hiring data, due on Friday, is likely to play a key role in the Federal Reserve's deliberations on raising interest rates.

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Improving economic data and Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election have increased the odds of a rate hike at the Fed's final meeting of the year later this month.

Traders currently see a 90 percent chance of an increase in rates this month, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Bluebird Bio shares soared 22.6 percent to $74 in premarket trading after the gene-therapy developer said patients undergoing its multiple myeloma treatment showed strong benefits.

Dollar General fell 5 percent to $73.50 after the discount retailer reported a surprise drop in third-quarter comparable sales.

Express and Guess dropped 13 percent each after the apparel and accessories retailers cut their full-year profit forecasts.

 

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru