U.S. equity futures are trading mixed, possibly bringing a halt to the selling from the prior session.
Dow futures suggest a rise of 0.1% when the Thursday trading session begins on Wall Street.
A couple of potentially market-moving economic reports are on tap.
The Labor Department is expected to say the number of claims for unemployment benefits declined to 840,000 last week, down 20,000 from the previous week’s tally of 860,000 and the lowest reading since March 14, right before the coronavirus lockdowns.
The Census Bureau is expected to say that sales of new homes slipped 0.1% in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 895,000. That’s barely down from July’s much stronger-than-expected reading of 901,000, the highest since December 2006.
Market players are feeling less optimistic about action from the U.S. Federal Reserve and Congress to help the U.S. economy amid the distractions of the presidential election and the battle over the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 1.1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.8% and China's Shanghai Composite was down 1.7%.
In Europe, London's FTSE declined 0.5%, Germany's DAX was up 0.1% and France's CAC fell 0.2%.
Wall Street experienced more whiplash Wednesday as stocks closed broadly lower, wiping out gains from the day before. The S&P 500 fell 2.4% to 3,236.92, erasing an earlier gain. The widespread selling accelerated in the afternoon, though technology stocks accounted for the biggest losses.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.9% to 26,763.13. The Nasdaq composite slid 3% to 10,632.99.
Johnson & Johnson rose 0.2% as it began a huge final study to try to prove if a single dose COVID-19 vaccine can protect against the coronavirus.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 2 cents to $39.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 2 cents to $41.79 a barrel.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.