US Markets

Futures hold lower amid data; weaker dollar, higher yields eyed

Positive month finishing on down note

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday as markets digested mixed data and major moves in the dollar and U.S. Treasurys, after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its data-dependent stance.

The U.S dollar weakened further on Thursday, after the euro spiked above $1.12 for the first time in two months on Wednesday. Meanwhile U.S. Treasury yields continue to trade higher, with the benchmark 10-year bond yielding 2.086 percent on Thursday.

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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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"Normally the weaker U.S. dollar would help U.S. equities, but the concerns on top-line growth are offsetting the benefits of weaker dollar. So U.S. yields are being dragged up by global yields (just as they were dragged down) but are lagging and not reflecting any U.S. cyclical strength," Citi Global Head of G10 FX Strategy Steven Englander said in a research note on Thursday.

Weekly jobless claims came in at 262,000. U.S. personal income was flat in March, and consumer spending up just 0.3 percent when adjusted for inflation.

The latest Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) survey is due at 9:45 a.m. ET, with a pick-up in the headline index expected following the very weak readings of the previous two months.

Major earnings due on Thursday include Exxon Mobil, Colgate-Palmolive, ConocoPhillips, CME Group, Viacom, Imax and Beazer Homes before market open.

Exxon Mobil posted first-quarter earnings that declined sharply from a year ago but handily beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

AIG, Visa, LinkedIn, Western Union and Dreamworks Animation are due after the bell.

European equities were mostly lower on Thursday, as investors reacted to earnings, as well as the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate decision.

Following through on indications in March, the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday offered no changes to its zero interest rate policy. Not only did it not hike rates, it also removed all hints for what may lie ahead. Calendar references were deleted completely from the post-meeting statement.

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Officials have indicated a desire to raise rates at some point this year, with the market now anticipating a September increase.

Ahead of the Fed's statement, official data showed gross domestic product in the U.S. expanded at an only 0.2 percent annual rate, on Wednesday. That was a big step down from the fourth quarter's 2.2 percent pace and marked the weakest reading in a year.