Peter Nurse | Investing.com
Investing.com -- U.S. stock futures traded in a mixed fashion Thursday, as investors digested a series of economic data releases that clouded the likelihood of early Federal Reserve interest rate cuts.
More economic data to digest
Fed officials have tried to rein in expectations of early rate cuts after the dovish tilt in the Federal Reserve's stance in December raised the market’s hopes.
However, retail sales came in stronger than expected on Wednesday, and data released earlier Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since late 2022, suggesting job growth likely remained solid in January.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 187,000 for the week ended Jan. 13, the lowest level since September 2022.
On the flip side, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index remained in contraction territory in January, hardly a ringing endorsement for the state of the American manufacturing industry.
Additionally, U.S. single-family homebuilding dropped sharply by 8.6% in December after a string of strong gains.
Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is also scheduled to speak later in the session, and investors will be looking to see whether he discusses his outlook for interest rates.
Further job cuts at Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) likely
In the corporate sector, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock rose 0.7% after The Verge reported Chief Executive Sundar Pichai stating in an internal memo that further jobs cuts at Google were likely.
The job cuts will not be as large as they were last year, he said, but they are needed to help simplify operations and increase velocity in some areas.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) stock slumped 6% after the credit card lender reported a steep decline in fourth-quarter net income due in part to higher compliance-related expenses.
Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) extended losses to a third straight session on Thursday over lingering concerns around the company's future after a U.S. judge blocked its $3.8 billion merger with JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU).
Crude rises on winter U.S. weather
Oil prices rose Thursday as U.S. oil production was disrupted amid a cold blast while Middle East tensions remained fraught.
Winter conditions in the U.S. state North Dakota caused oil output to fall by 650,000 to 700,000 barrels per day, less than half its typical output, supporting the overall market.
Additionally, Pakistan has launched retaliatory missile strikes into Iran, after Iran carried out strikes in Pakistan late on Tuesday, as the conflict in the Middle East threatened to expand further, potentially hitting crude supplies.
(Oliver Gray contributed to this article.)