US stock futures hint at another rough ride for the market

New York (Sept 10)  Dow futures, which were moving in and out of positive territory, point to bumpy trading action Thursday, a day after big swings in the main indexes on Wednesday culminated in sharp losses for U.S. stocks.

Investors weighing the possibility of the end of the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies, underpin some of Thursday’s early action and were a specter looming over markets yesterday.

Data out during the day — such as weekly jobless claims and wholesale inventories — could further help shape the trading mood as investors look to economic reports to gauge the Fed’s intentions at its two-day policy meeting next Wednesday.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU5, -0.27%  were down 36 points, or 0.2%, to 16,234, after being up earlier, while those for the S&P 500 index ESU5, -0.20%  were off about 3 points, or 0.1%, at 1,940. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQU5, -0.14%  lost 5 points, or 0.1%, to trade at 4,250.

On Wednesday, all three averages closed sharply lower after a solid job-openings report sparked speculation the Fed could raise interest rates at its meeting next week and as slump in oil later in the session added to the downdraft.

However, economists are still split as to whether the central bank will start the tightening cycle in September or wait until the October or December meetings. Goldman Sachs said in a note dated Sept. 9 that it continues to expect the Fed to start the hiking cycle at the December meeting.

There were no Fed speakers scheduled for Thursday as the central bank is in its “blackout” period ahead of its key policy meeting.

Thursday’s data: Weekly jobless claims are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time and are expected to show 275,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended Sept. 5. That would a slight improvement from the two-month high of 282,000 claims recorded the week before.

“Data from the United States has been robust for an extended period. Today’s [claims] release may be seen as an attribute which may bring the Fed closer to a rate increase before year-end,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, in a note.

Also at 8:30 a.m., import prices for August are due, followed by wholesale inventories for July at 10 a.m.

In the U.K., the Bank of England left its key lending rate at a record low of 0.5%, where it has stood since March 2009. The decision to keep rates on hold were widely anticipated by economists.

Movers & shakers: Shares of Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.20%  inched 0.1% higher in premarket trade, after shedding 1.9% Wednesday after the tech giant unveiled a business-oriented iPad Pro, a new set of iPhones with so-called 3-D touch technology, and a revamped Apple TV.

Read: Everything from Apple event: iPhone 6S, Apple TV with Siri, iPad Pro

GoPro Inc. GPRO, -10.27%  climbed 2.1% ahead of the bell after the wearable-camera company’s shares tanked 10% on Wednesday.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. PANW, -0.78%  gained 6% premarket after the network security company late Wednesday reported a surge in fourth-quarter revenue.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. KKD, -0.78%  was down 17% in premarket trade after the doughnut company late Wednesday lowered its guidance for the current year to reflect softer-than-expected performance in its consumer packaged-goods category and negative derivatives impacts.

In earnings news on Thursday, Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, -4.76%  reported second-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations. Shares were down 5.5% ahead of the bell.

After the market closes, sports-clothing retailer Zumiez Inc. ZUMZ, -3.23%  and recruitment company Korn/Ferry International  KFY, -0.75% are slated to report. 

Other markets: Asian markets ended sharply lower, with the negative sentiment spilling over to European markets as well. The Nikkei reversed part of a prior-day 7.7% gain to close down. Read: China jitters are at an all-time, this chart shows

Crude oil CLV5, +0.25%  rose 0.6% after dipping below $45 a barrel on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration lowered its crude-oil price forecasts for this year and next.

Metals prices rose across the board, while the dollar DXY, +0.15%  traded mixed against other major currencies.

Source: MarketWatch