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US pre-open: Futures struggle for direction ahead of GDP data

30 Jul 15

LONDON (ShareCast) - (ShareCast News) - US stock futures struggled for direction on Thursday ahead of closely watched report on second quarter growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open approximately 11 points down, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are set to begin the session two points lower and three points higher respectively.

Thursday data

On Thursday, investors will closely monitor second quarter gross domestic product data, which is released at 1330BST.

Economists expect the economy to have grown 2.8% quarter-on-quarter, following a 0.2% decline in the previous three months.

"Today's reading of second quarter GDP will offer some insight into what the Fed is dealing with, from an economic standpoint," said Oanda's senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

"The US economy performed poorly in the first quarter due to a number of factors, one of which - the strong dollar - was a headwind again in the second and will continue to be if the Fed hikes interest rates."

GDP data could shed some light over the timing of the first rate hike, after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold but signalled its intention to start raising interest rates in the summer, depending on economic data.

"Dealers have a short-term mindset, and as soon as they heard nothing to warrant an interest rate hike in the immediate future they jumped on the bandwagon, but it was short lived," said IG's financial analyst David Madden.

"Some traders are looking to September for an interest rate hike, and others think it's too soon, but the Fed has been intentionally cagey and September can't be ruled out."

At 1330 BST weekly jobless claims are also on tap, with economist expecting them to have risen from 255,000 to 275,000 last week.

Facebook disappoints

In company news, Facebook fell 1.58% ahead of the bell after the social media giant reported a decline in second quarter earnings.

Whole Foods plunged 14.3% after posting results that fell short of forecasts late on Wednesday, while Nokia jumped 6.2% after delivering better-than-expected results.

Cable-TV provider Time Warner Cable, oil and gas explorer ConocoPhillips and Colgate-Palmolive will report before the opening bell, while videogame-maker Electronic Arts, biotech company Amgen and online networking site LinkedIn are on tap after the close.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks closed on a mixed note, with the Shanghai Composite Index shedding 2.2%, while European equities struggled for direction despite a raft of solid reports.

The dollar shed 0.21% against the pound but climbed 0.34% and 0.18% against the yen and the pound respectively, while gold futures shed 0.64% to $1,085.60.

Oil prices staged a solid rebound, with West Texas Intermediate climbing 0.71% to $49.14 a barrel, while Brent climbed 1.40% to $54.14 a barrel.

Note 1: Prices and trades are provided by Digital Look Corporate Solutions and are end of day values only.


Market Data

Currency US Dollars
52 Week High $77.35
52 Week Low $59.89
Shares Issued 859.81m
Market Cap $57,057m


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