Equity Futures Dip as Wall Street Navigates Unchartered Territory


U.S. stock index futures dipped slightly on Thursday, as investors looked for fresh catalysts to keep up Wall Street's record-setting run as the outlook for the economy brightened.

The rally was sparked by President Donald Trump's vow last Thursday of a 'phenomenal' tax announcement. Robust economic data has also been a boost, while bank stocks have risen on prospects of an upcoming interest rate hike.

The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed up for the seventh session in a row, its first such streak since September 2013. The S&P, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq have hit record intraday highs and closing highs for five straight sessions.

Trump tweeted: "Stock market hits new high with longest winning streak in decades. Great level of confidence and optimism - even before tax plan rollout!"

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said rates may need to be raised at an upcoming meeting, putting a possible move in March on the table. The odds of a hike next month stand at 26 percent, compared with 13 percent earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Economic data on tap includes two reports at 8:30 a.m. ET. One is expected to show jobless claims rose slightly last week, while Commerce Department data is expected to show housing starts were little changed in January.

Among stocks, Dow component Cisco rose 1.46 percent to $33.30 premarket after the network equipment maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit.

NetEase rose 5.6 percent to $276.55 following the Chinese online game developer's revenue beat.

Molina Healthcare dropped 16.5 percent to $50 after the health insurer reported a fourth-quarter loss and forecast 2017 profit far below estimates.

Valeant was up 2.6 percent at $17.30 after the FDA approved its drug to treat plaque psoriasis.

Futures snapshot at 6:45 a.m. ET:

Dow e-minis were down 35 points, or 0.17 percent at 8:57 a.m. ET, with 17,850 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.18 percent, with 102,628 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2.75 points, or 0.05 percent, on volume of 16,685 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)