Futures Pare Gains After GDP, Jobless Claims
U.S. stock index futures trimmed their gains Thursday, following the GDP and weekly jobless claims reports, but remained in positive territory as the weaker-than-expected data implied the Fed would not likely curtail its bond-buying program anytime soon.
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Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly gained 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a reading of 340,000. But a Labor Department analyst said claims for five states, including Virginia, Minnesota and Oregon, were estimated since state offices had less time to prepare data because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims edged up 6,750 to 347,250.
And the U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, according to revised numbers from the Commerce Department, falling slightly short of estimates for a 2.5 percent gain.
Also on the economic front, pending home sales for April is scheduled to be released at 10 am ET.
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Additionally, investors remained sensitive to the notion that the Fed could soon begin to pull back on its massive unlimited stimulus. Analysts took heart on Wednesday in the comments of Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, one of the central bank's most vocal proponents of accomodative monetary policy, who said the Fed should continue to flood the economy with more stimulus until the recovery becomes "self-sustaining" and labor markets thaw.
"We do not believe key members of the FOMC have already made up their minds on what the next change in Federal Reserve policy should be," said Nomura analysts in a research note. "Any decision to change the pace of asset purchases will depend on how economic data and financial markets evolve."
Big Lots tumbled after the discount retailer handed in current-quarter and full-year guidance that fell short of expectations.
Joy Global declined after the mining equipment maker reported lower quarterly results and slashed its full-year earnings outlook, hurt by a drop in commodity prices.
Facebook rallied after BMO upgraded the social networking giant to "outperform" from "market perform" and Jefferies lifted its rating on the company to "buy" from "hold."
Moody's Investors Service downgraded aluminum producer Alcoa to junk grade, citing weak aluminum prices and tough market conditions.
The Treasury is scheduled to auction $29 billion in 7-year notes with the results available shortly after 1pm ET.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park. Follow JeeYeon on Twitter:
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: Pending home sales index, natural gas inventories, oil inventories, 7-yr note auction, Fed balance sheet/money supply; Earnings from Lions Gate Ent.
FRIDAY: Personal income & outlays, Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment, farm prices, OPEC mtg
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