Jobless claims rise less than expected in latest week
U.S. stock futures pointed to a modestly higher open Thursday, signaling a comeback from the prior session, as investors looked ahead to the start of the highly anticipated gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 63 points, or 0.3%, to 21,860, while futures for the S&P 500 index moved up 6.75 points, or 0.3%, to 2,448. Nasdaq-100 added 22 points, or 0.4%, to 5,869.75.
Market participants also digested the latest economic data, which showed that jobless claims rose by 2,000 in the latest week. However, the labor market remains strong. Claims are coming off a six-month low and the increase in the latest week was below forecasts.
Despite that, the meeting of central bankers is likely to be the primary driver of trading, even though key speakers such as Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen won't appear until Friday.
"Markets are hoping for a change in sentiment that can take us off the recent risk-off mode," said Michala Marcussen, chief economist at Société Générale, in a note.
"We are inclined to think that the Jackson Hole symposium will probably disappoint, with central bankers preferring to explain detailed actions in September," she said.
The indicated gains would mark a slight recovery, after the main indexes finished in the red Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-rally-poised-to-peter-out-as-jackson-hole-comes-back-into-focus-2017-08-23), undoing previous solid gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index both fell 0.4%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3%.
For the week, the Dow is on pace to gain 0.6%, the S&P 500 is set to add 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite is on track to rise 1%, a move that would end a four-week string of declines for the technology-heavy index.
Equities' recent struggle has been put down in part (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-shutdown-threat-rattles-stock-market-2017-08-23) to President Donald Trump's threat late Tuesday to shut down the government if he didn't get funding for a border wall with Mexico.
Words from Wyoming: The program for the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's symposium, titled "Fostering a Dynamic Global Economy," is set for release (https://www.kansascityfed.org/publications/research/escp) at 6 p.m. Mountain time, or 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The meeting runs through Saturday.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will be on the lineup with Yellen on Friday, and investors will watch for any hints on the path for monetary policy from both central bank chiefs.
"[Yellen's] speech is of great importance, given the recent warnings from the Fed on vulnerabilities associated with asset valuations. Few disagree that the global easy monetary policies have created overstretched valuations," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.
See:Here's what investors will be watching when Draghi, Yellen speak at Jackson Hole (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-investors-will-be-watching-when-draghi-yellen-speak-at-jackson-hole-2017-08-22)
Stock movers:Tiffany & Co.(TIF) posted second-quarter earnings of 92 cents a share (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tiffany-co-shares-rise-after-earnings-revenue-beat-2017-08-24), beating expectations. Stock in the luxury jewelry company rose 3% in low premarket volume.
Signet shares (SIG) jumped 18% ahead of the bell after the jewelry retailer's quarterly earnings and sales beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/signet-jewelers-shares-spike-after-earnings-beat-e-commerce-acquisition-2017-08-24).
Burlington Stores's stock (BURL) climbed 8% ahead of the bell after the discount store chain posted better-than-expected second-quarter results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/burlington-stores-stock-surges-8-premarket-on-better-than-expected-earnings-2017-08-24) and raised its outlook for the full year.
J.M. Smucker Co. shares(SJM)fell 4.7% premarket (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jm-smucker-shares-fall-4-premarket-after-earnings-miss-2017-08-24) as the foods producer lowered its full-year outlook and its first-quarter earnings missed estimates.
Hormel Foods Corp.'s(HRL) stock dropped 4.5% premarket after the Spam maker cut its full-year earnings forecast.
Sears(SHLD) posted a narrower quarterly loss of $2.34 a share (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sears-loss-tops-views-to-close-28-kmart-stores-2017-08-24) and said it would close 28 Kmart stores this year. Shares were inactive in premarket trading.
U.S.-listed shares of CRH PLC(CRG.DB) were up 3.8% premarket after the Irish building materials company agreed to sell its Americas distribution business (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crh-to-sell-us-distribution-unit-in-26b-deal-2017-08-24) to Beacon Roofing Supply(BECN).
A consortium that includes Western Digital Corp.(WDC) will offer 1.9 trillion yen ($17 billion) to purchase Toshiba Corp.'s(6502.TO) memory chip business, sources told Reuters on Thursday. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/western-digital-group-offer-1-091619106.html)
(https://finance.yahoo.com/news/western-digital-group-offer-1-091619106.html)Invesco Ltd. is reportedly closing in on a $1 billion deal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/invesco-closes-in-on-1-billion-deal-to-buy-guggenheims-etf-business-2017-08-24) for Guggenheim Partners's ETF business.
Economic docket: The Labor Department's report on weekly jobless claims, scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, is expected to show a rise to 238,000.
Existing home sales in July are expected to decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.50 million. The report from the National Association of Realtors is due at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Other markets:In Asian equities, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hong-kong-leads-slight-asian-market-gains-2017-08-23) Hong Kong shares finished higher while Japan's Nikkei lost ground. European equities traded modestly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-post-cautious-gains-as-jackson-hole-day-arrives-2017-08-24).
The ICE Dollar Index was up 0.1% at 93.1940. A single bitcoin was up 2% to $4,224.05 after a upgrade to increase transaction sizes was implemented.
Oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-ease-with-caution-still-in-place-even-as-us-stockpiles-decline-2017-08-24) edged lower, while gold prices slipped 0.2% to $1,285.90 an ounce.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 24, 2017 08:55 ET (12:55 GMT)