Stock Futures Extend Drop Ahead of Economic Data

By MarketsFOXBusiness

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U.S. stock-index futures fell on Thursday, extending a selloff sparked in the last session by somewhat more hawkish than expected Fed comments.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:02 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 29 points, or 0.18%, to 16110, S&P 500 futures slumped 3.8 points, or 0.2%, to 1849 and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 8.3 points, or 0.23%, to 3666.

Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen capped her first media briefing as head of the mighty central bank with a bang. But perhaps not exactly the kind of bang she was expecting.

Wall Street took heavy losses on Wednesday after Yellen said the central bank might start hiking rates from historic lows as soon as six months after it finishes its bond-buying program. That notion, combined with a relatively hawkish interest rate forecast, sent stocks dropping and Treasury yields climbing.

The Treasury market stabilized on Thursday, with the 10-year yield falling 0.007 percentage point as traders bought the asset.

On the economic front, the number of Americans who filed for weekly jobless claims is forecast to have climbed to 325,000 last week from 315,000 the week prior.

A report at 10:00 a.m. from the Philadelphia Fed, meanwhile, is expected to show the factory sector in the mid-Atlantic region having flipped back into expansion mode in March after contracting in February. At the same time a report from the National Association of Realtors could indicate sales of existing, single-family homes having fallen slightly to an annual rate of 4.6 million units in February from 4.62 million units in the month prior.

Economists and policymakers have said harsh winter weather affected economic data across the board. Those issues are seen as temporary headwinds that should abate as the weather improves.

In corporate news, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) said it will hike its regular dividend by 10.2%.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 42 points, or 0.42%, to $99.95 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.21% to $2.863 a gallon. Gold slumped $19.10, or 1.4%, to $1,322 a troy ounce.

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