ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


U.S. stock futures ebbed lower Thursday ahead of a report likely to show a large drop for durable-goods orders. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJZ4) slipped 2 points to 17,137 while those for the S&P 500 index (SPZ4) gave up 1.2 points, or 0.1%, to 1,989.80. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index (NDZ4) lost 2.5 points, or 0.1%, to 4,085.25.

In addition to economic data, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart will speak in what’s been busy week for Fed members making public appearances.

On Wednesday, investors welcomed dovish remarks by Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester. The S&P 500 (SPX) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) logged their best one-day percentage gain in more than five weeks, with stocks also finding support after a stronger-than-expected report on new-home sales.

Bracing for data:August orders for U.S. durable goods, due from the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, are expected to fall 17.3%. Such a drop would come after July’s nearly 23% leap, driven by new contracts for Boeing jets.

Excluding aircraft and automobiles, August durable-goods orders could come in higher by at least 1%. “With fears running rife that the Fed may act too hastily in hiking interest rates, if this number comes in below forecast then we could well see traders given the excuse to book profits off the back of yesterday’s gains,” said Joao Monteiro, analyst at Valutrades, in a note.

Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department is expected to report weekly initial jobless claims edged slightly higher after falling 280,000 in the second week of September. Claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, are near the lowest level since early 2006.

Investors will then turn attention to Lockhart’s speech on the economic outlook to the Mississippi Council for Economic Education at 1:20 p.m. Eastern. Lockhart is a voting member of the Fed policy committee this year.

Stocks to watch: Jabil Circuit (JBL) shares rose 4% late Wednesday after the electronics manufacturer’s quarterly results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates.

Publishing company Scholastic’s (SCHL) results are due ahead of the bell.

Boston Scientific (BSX) was hit with a $308 million judgment in a royalty dispute, the medical device maker said Wednesday.

HB Fuller (FUL) slid more than 10% in late trade Wednesday after the paint, chemicals and adhesives company’s third-quarter earnings missed Wall Street expectations.

Other markets: Japan’s Nikkei Average surged 1.3% as the yen weakened. Meanwhile, the euro (EURUSD) was at its lowest since 2012 against the dollar following European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments about extra policy steps.

European stocks gained after Draghi’s comments. Gold futures(GCZ4) fell and oil futures(CLX4) slipped.