U.S. stock futures notched minor gains ahead of the market open, as investors looked ahead to the European Central Bank policy decision and to fresh U.S. labor market data for cues.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU6, +0.07% were up 16 points, or 0.1%, at 18,530.00 and futures for the S&P 500 ESU6, +0.09% picked up 2.2 points, or 0.1%, at 2,187.00. Futures of the Nasdaq-100 NQU6, +0.04% tacked on 3.5 points, or 0.1%, to 4,832.25.
Still in focus are Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.61% shares, which were down 0.4% premarket. They closed up a modest 0.6% on Wednesday after the launch event for the new iPhone 7 handset and other devices.
Read: There are two reasons (and only two) to buy the iPhone 7
Before the market open, the ECB will deliver its latest monetary policy decision, due at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time. Conviction is growing that the central bank will prolong its asset-buying program beyond March 2017, but opinion is divided as to whether the move will come at Thursday’s meeting.
“After signs that the eurozone economy is struggling again, there may be a nod towards further monetary easing. ... The committee could extend the program by another six months and possibly even increase the program purchases from the current €80bn per month,” Perry said.
Investors will listen for clues when ECB President Mario Draghi holds his press conference after the meeting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
Read: Pressure mounts on ECB to do QE3, but it’s a close call whether it comes today
And: Draghi could fire a Big Bazooka simply by giving up
Economy: The Labor Department will issue its report on weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits is expected to slightly increase to 265,000 in the week ended Sept. 3.
The Census Bureau’s quarterly survey of services is due at 10 a.m. Eastern, followed later by a Federal Reserve reading on consumer credit at 3 p.m. Eastern.