Stock Futures Flat as Traders Shrug Off China Data

By MarketsFOXBusiness

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures wavered on Thursday after a rally in the last session as traders broadly shook off a round of very disappointing China trade data.

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Today's Markets

As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 4 points, or 0.04%, to 16354, S&P 500 futures dipped 0.25 point, or 0.03%, to 1865 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3 point, or 0.01%, to 3591.

The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow all posted their best days since early March on Wednesday, as traders cheered dovish minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy-setting meeting. The gains helped reverse a slide that briefly knocked the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into the red for the year.

Traders kicked off the day with alarming data on China's economy. Exports in the world's No. 2 economy plummeted 6.6% year-over-year in March, confounding economists who forecast a 4.8% increase.

"We believe that economic momentum may have stalled temporarily in March, with the official PMI picking up slightly," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

"There is scope for the government to stay the policy course and not announce new easing measures in April as it waits to see how the economy responds to the set of fiscal easing measures announced in recent weeks."

On the U.S. front, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to 300,000 last week from an upwardly-revised 332,000 the week prior. The reading was the lowest since May 2007. Economists expected claims to fall to 320,000 from an initially reported 326,000.

A separate report from Labor showed U.S. import prices climbed 0.6% on a month-to-month basis in March, topping expectations of a 0.2% increase. Meanwhile, export prices jumped 0.8% in the biggest increase since 2012, while economists forecast a 0.2% advance.

In corporate news, Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) shares tumbled after the housing goods retailer revealed a worse-than-expected outlook.

U.S. crude oil futures fell 19 cents, or 0.18%, to $103.41 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.62% to $2.99 a gallon. Gold jumped $18.10, or 1.4%, to $1,324 a troy ounce.

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