Futures Turn Higher After Strong Data

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U.S. stock-index futures bucked a global trend lower and climbed on Thursday as traders digested data pointing to gains in key sectors and falling trade prices.

Today's Markets

As of 9:08 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 4 points to 14982, S&P 500 futures rose 2.8 points to 1613 and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 4.3 points to 2925.

The markets have had a tough three days, with the S&P 500 shedding close to 2% on the back of ongoing concerns about the pace of bond buying by global central banks. That negative sentiment pervaded Asian markets on the day. The Japanese Nikkei 225 plunged 6.4% overnight, eating into big gains earlier in the year.

"Financial markets are in the midst of pricing the beginning of what is likely to be a long process of withdrawal of monetary policy stimulus by the U.S. Fed," Guillermo Felices, an analyst at Barclays wrote to clients.

David Madden, a market analyst at IG, echoed that view, saying: "The recent rally in global equity markets was entirely a creation of central banks and this sell-off is the proof; investors were not confident in the global economy but they knew central banks would throw money at the problem."

Meanwhile, The World Bank trimmed down its global economic growth forecast for this year by 0.2 percentage point to 2.2% as China's expansion cools considerably more than previously anticipated.

Several key reports gave traders a fresh look at the American economy.

The Commerce Department reported retail sales ticked up 0.6% in May from April, beating expectations of a 0.4% rise. Core sales, which excludes automobiles, gasoline and building materials increased 0.3% from 0.2% in April. The consumer sector is the largest portion of the economy, and the data often have an outsize market impact.

The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 334,000 last week. Claims were expected to fall to 345,000 from 346,000 the week prior. Jobs data have come into focus as traders try to determine when the labor market will be recovering swiftly enough for the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its bond buys.

Another report from Commerce showed U.S. import prices fell 0.6% in May from April, while export prices dipped 0.5%, compared to expectations that both would hold steady for the month. Import prices were down 1.9% from the same month last year, while export prices were off 0.9%. There have been worries that the Fed's aggressive monetary policy could put upward pressure on prices, however, that broadly has not yet come to fruition.

Commodities markets were lightly changed. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract fell 51 cents, or 0.52%, to $95.38 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.03% to $2.811 a gallon. In metals, gold dipped $6.90, or 0.5%, to $1,385 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.9% to 2642, the English FTSE 100 dropped 0.85% to 6246 and the German DAX sold off by 1.4% to 8028.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 plunged 6.4% to 12445 and the Chinese Hang Seng plummeted 2.2% to 20887.