Lower start seen for stocks

By CNNMoney.com staff


NEW YORK(CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were headed for a lower open Thursday, as investors reacted to a disappointing job market report.

Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were down.

Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins in New York.

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, lifted by robust company reports and a reading on the housing sector that came in better than expected. The gains came on the heels of Tuesday's big advance.

Derek Hoffman, chief executive and founder of Wall St. Cheat Sheet, said that the biggest market-movers in early trading will be earnings from "bellwether" retailer Wal-Mart and the economic indicators for jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed.

Economy: The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims surged to 473,000 in the week ended Feb. 13, an increase from the prior week's upwardly revised figure of 442,000.

That was much worse than expected. Initial jobless claims were forecast to have totaled 430,000, according to a consensus of economist opinion from Briefing.com.

The producer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4% in January, which was much higher than expected. The PPI was forecast to increase 0.8%, according to Briefing.com consensus, compared to a gain of 0.4% in December.

The latest index of leading economic indicators will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The Philly Fed, a regional manufacturing survey, also comes out then.

Earnings: Retail behemoth Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) released its quarterly financial results before the opening bell.

Wal-Mart beat profit expectations, reporting adjusted earnings of $1.17 per share for the fourth quarter. The company was expected to report a 9% gain in earnings per share, or $1.12, according to a consensus of analyst forecasts from Thomson Reuters.

Same-store sales were down 1.6% for the fourth quarter and they were flat for the year, the company said. The company's stock dipped in pre-market trading.

Companies:Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500) posted late Wednesday results that topped Wall Street's estimates. The company also raised its outlook for the full year.

AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) has decided to drop a plan to completely unwind its derivatives portfolio and instead may keep up to $500 billion of the controversial assets, according to published reports.

World markets: Stocks in Europe drifted slightly higher in midday trading. Stocks in Japan managed to eke out gains, with the Nikkei adding 0.3%.

Cash and bonds: The dollar was mixed against major international currencies, rising against the euro and the British pound but slipping versus the yen. The price of the 10-year note fell, pushing up the yield to 3.70%.

Oil and gold: The stronger dollar helped to drive down the price of oil, which fell 67 cents to $76.66 a barrel. The Energy Information Administration's weekly crude inventory report comes out Thursday morning.

The price of gold fell $11.40 per ounce to $1,108.10, following the International Monetary Fund's announcement on Wednesday that it would sell another 191.3 tons of gold.

The IMF said it has already sold 212 tons of gold since September. The Reserve Bank of India was the leading purchaser by far, having bought 200 tons. In all, the IMF plans to reduce its gold holdings by an eighth. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.98%4.08%
15 yr fixed3.09%3.11%
5/1 ARM3.20%3.22%
30 yr refi4.06%4.16%
15 yr refi3.17%3.20%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,810.06 91.06 0.51%
Nasdaq 4,712.97 11.10 0.24%
S&P 500 2,063.50 10.75 0.52%
Treasuries 2.32 -0.02 -0.86%
Data as of Nov 23
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.12 0.12 0.71%
Kinder Morgan Inc 39.75 -0.17 -0.43%
Apple Inc 116.47 0.16 0.14%
Intel Corp 35.59 -0.36 -1.00%
Microsoft Corp 47.98 -0.72 -1.48%
Data as of Nov 21

Sections

More than 600 Kmart workers signed a petition asking that the store allow employees to at least request the day off. More

China's central bank surprised investors last week with its first rate cut in more than two years. But get used to that -- analysts say more cuts are in the pipeline. More

Regin is malware has been lurking in computers for as long as six years, according to Symantec. But experts don't know much about where it is from, what it does and who has been targeted. More

Obama doesn't have the authority to create a startup visa, but part of his reform announcement could include a workaround for entrepreneurs: 'parole status.' More

Nearly half of all Americans say there's a chance they'll have to work during a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to a new poll. And one in four say they'll have to work whether they want to or not. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.