Gloomy Manufacturing Data, Mixed Earnings Hit Futures

By MarketsFOXBusiness

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures skidded lower Thursday after McDonald's posted mixed quarterly results and traders eyed disappointing data on the factory sector.

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Today's Markets

As of 9:11 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 100 points, or 0.61%, to 16217, S&P 500 futures dipped 9.3 points, or 0.5%, to 1829 and Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 14.2 points, or 0.39%, to 3607.

The economic calendar has been completely barren this week. However, that was set to change on Thursday.

A report from London-based Markit showed U.S. factory output growth unexpectedly slowed to its lowest level since October as a result of cold weather in January. The PMI gauge slid to 53.7 from 55, compared to expectations it would hold steady.

Still, Markit said "the latest survey results still [indicate] solid underlying growth across the U.S. manufacturing sector."

Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless claims rose last week to 326,000 from a downwardly revised 325,000. Wall Street expected the number of claims to hold steady at an initially-reported 326,000.

The labor market has shown signs of improving recently, but the rate of gains has been fairly sluggish and choppy. Indeed, economists at Goldman Sachs issued a note to clients late Wednesday saying several factors including sluggish wage growth suggests the world's biggest economy is still "far from full employment."

Later, at 10:00 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will release data on the housing market. Wall Street expects sales of previously-sold homes to have climbed to an annualized pace of 4.94 million in December from 4.9 million the month prior. The housing market has been bouncing back vigorously, but worries have swirled over whether higher mortgage rates will crimp the increase.

On the corporate front, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), the world's biggest burger chain, revealed mixed quarterly results ahead of the opening bell. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) unveiled a big quarterly beat after the closing bell Wednesday, sending its shares surging. EBay (NASDAQ:EBA) also rallied after billionaire investor Carl Icahn sent a proposal for the online auction site to spin off its PayPal division. Lenovo said it would by IBM's (NYSE:IBM) server business for $2.3 billion.

Elsewhere, in commodities, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 35 cents, or 0.35%, to $97.07 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.29% to $2.669 a gallon. Gold jumped $9.10, or 0.73%, to $1,248 a troy ounce.

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