Stocks may find it tough to keep the party going Thursday.
U.S. stocks surged Wednesday following the passage of a fiscal cliff deal in Washington.
But the prospect of more cliff-edge wrangling over the U.S. budget in the weeks to come may leave some investors nursing a hangover.
U.S. stock futures were lower ahead of the opening bell Thursday.
Bank stocks, which were among the biggest gainers a day earlier, fell in premarket trading. JPMorgan Chase (, )Citigroup ( and )Bank of America ( were all lower two hours before the open. )
Aside from keeping tabs on D.C. lawmakers, investors will get a fresh look at the labor market, with the government's weekly report on initial jobless claims and the monthly report on private-sector jobs from payroll processor ADP.
U.S. private sector added 215,000 jobs in December, according to the latest ADP report. And the government reported first-time jobless claims rose 10,000 to 372,000 in the latest week.
The two jobs reports serve as a prelude to the government's closely watched monthly jobs report, due Friday morning. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com are expecting the report will show job growth continued at a modest pace in December, with employers adding 150,000 jobs.
In November, employers added 146,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7% as workers dropped out of the labor force.
Later in the afternoon, investors will mull over minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting in December. At that meeting, the Fed announced plans to expand its controversial stimulus program. The Fed also said it forecasts it will keep accommodative policies in place until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5% or inflation exceeds 2.5% a year.
In corporate news, Family Dollar ( shares fell 8% after the discount retailer reported earnings that missed forecasts and issued a weak outlook. )
Shares of Gap ( rose 4.4% after the retailer reported stronger-than-expected same store sales and announced a new $1 billion stock buyback. )
Other retailers weren't faring as well.
Limited ( shares slid 4% after the Victoria's Secret owner's same store sales fell short of forecasts. And )Macy's ( slid into the red on a weak sales outlook. )
European markets retreated slightly in early trading after posting gains of 2% Wednesday, while Asian markets ended higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.4% while the Australia ASX All Ordinaries index added 0.8%. Markets in Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for an extended New Year's holiday.