U.S. equity futures are indicating a lower start to trading on Thursday.
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The major futures indexes are suggesting a decline of 0.3%.
Several economic reports are scheduled to be released, which could determine the direction of trading.
The Labor Department is expected to say the number of claims for unemployment benefits declined by 2,000 last week to 707. That would be the lowest since March 14, but still a stubbornly high tally.
At the same time the Philadelphia Federal Reserve will release its November index of manufacturing activity for eastern Pennsylvania, southern Jersey and Delaware. It’s expected to have a reading of 22, down from 32.3 in October. Recall that any reading above zero means that more manufacturers say business conditions are improving rather than worsening.
The National Association of Realtors will report existing home sales for October. Economists are looking for sales of previously owned homes to slip 1.2% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.45 million units, down from 6.54 million in September which was the highest since May 2006.
The parade of retail earnings continues Thursday with retailers Macy’s, BJ’s Wholesale, Ross Stores and Williams-Sonoma.
Most Asian stock markets traded lower on Thursday as anxiety about the economic fallout from rising coronavirus infections in the United States and Europe clashed with optimism about a possible vaccine.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.4%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.7% and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.5%.
In Europe, London's FTSE fell 0.9%, Germany's DAX declined 1% and France's CAC was down 0.9%.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 1.2% on Wednesday, erasing early gains after Pfizer and BioNTech reported more promising vaccine data. Losses accelerated after New York City said it would close its public schools to in-person learning following a surge in infections there.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.2% to 29,438.42. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.8% to 11,801.60.
Newly confirmed U.S. virus cases are running close to 160,000 per day. Deaths are averaging more than 1,155 per day, the highest in months.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 48 cents to $41.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 23 cents to $44.10 per barrel in London.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.