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Dow futures fall 180 pts; Retail earnings, jobless claims and Fed speakers eyed

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Thursday, with investors set to digest more corporate earnings, weekly jobless claims, and a plethora of Federal Reserve speakers.

At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 180 points or 0.5%, S&P 500 Futures traded 20 points or 0.5% lower, and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 50 points or 0.4%. The main stock indices closed lower Wednesday, after a dismal outlook from big-box retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) raised concerns ahead of the crucial holiday season while chipmaker Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) warned about the market outlook for 2023.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 40 points or 0.1% lower, the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.8%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.5%.

The retail sector will remain in focus Thursday, with the likes of Macy's (NYSE:M) and Kohl's Corp (NYSE:KSS) due before the bell and Gap (NYSE:GPS) as the traditionally biggest shopping season officially kicks off next week.

Results have been mixed so far this week, with Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) beating expectations, managing to produce decent results despite the soaring inflation, while Target was forced to discount merchandise to clear out excess inventory.

Wednesday's retail sales number was also stronger than expected, suggesting consumers continue to be resilient.

Attention will now turn to the labor market, with weekly jobless claims expected later in the session. The Federal Reserve is trying to tame inflation without tipping the U.S. economy into recession or causing mass redundancies.

The latest reports on October housing starts and building permits are also due, as well as the Philadelphia and Kansas City Fed manufacturing surveys.

There are also a number of Fed speakers scheduled for Thursday, including James Bullard, Michelle Bowman, Loretta Mester, and Phillip Jefferson.

Oil prices fell Thursday as geopolitical concerns eased after NATO officials cleared Russia from blame for the missile attack on Poland, easing fears of the war between Russian and Ukraine broadening.

Data released Wednesday from the Energy Information Administration showed that crude stocks in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer, fell by 5.4 million barrels last week, largely matching the previous day's release from the industry body, the American Petroleum Institute.

However, inventories of gasoline and distillate fuels both rose by more than expected, leaving an unclear picture.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.6% lower at $84.22 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.2% to $91.75.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,768.45/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.4% lower at 1.0349.


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