Futures Slump as Traders Take Profits, Mull Data


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U.S. stock-index futures slumped on Thursday as traders cashed in on recent profits and parsed through the latest round of economic data and corporate earnings.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 74 points to 15426, S&P 500 futures dropped 6.8 points to 1677 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 3.3 points to 3051.

With the broad-market averages sitting near record highs, and the month near its end, market participants pointed to portfolio adjustments as the driver behind the mild losses early in the day.

"I don’t see this as a fundamental move," said Rhino Trading Partners Chief Strategist Michael Block. "This is profit taking, reallocation, a breather."

Block also said traders were gearing up for major events in coming weeks, including the monthly jobs report and a key reading on the manufacturing sector.

Still, traders had no lack of information to parse through on the day. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) revealed quarterly results that handily topped Wall Street expectations after the bell Wednesday. Meanwhile, Visa (NYSE:V) also posted a quarterly beat, while Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) profits matched estimates.

3M (NYSE:MMM) posted earnings that narrowly beat expectations ahead of the open in New York.

Meanwhile, on the economic front, report is a lagging indicator, but it figures into second-quarter gross domestic product estimates.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed the number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits last week rose to 343,000 from an upwardly revised 336,000 the week prior. Economists expected the number to rise to 340,000 from an initially reported 334,000. The labor market has been showing signs of improvement, but the rate of recovery has been stubbornly slow.

Commodity markets were broadly lower. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract dipped 52 cents, or 0.49%, to $104.87 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.87% to $3.028 a gallon. In metals, gold ticked lower by 0.05% to $1,319 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.74% to 2732, the English FTSE 100 dropped 0.84% to 6565 and the German DAX skidded 0.86% to 8307.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off by 1.1% to 14563 and the Chinese Hang Seng slumped 0.31% to 21901.

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