Anora Mahmudova, Sara SjolinU.S. stock-market index futures on Thursday pared some of their early gains, following a deluge of mixed bag of economic reports.
Investors are weighing the economic data, including a reading of retail sales that showed a decline in August—the first since March—while jobless claims ticked higher but remained at historically low levels. Producer prices remained flat, suggesting lack of inflation pressures.
The data come ahead of the Federal Reserve’s much-anticipated two-day policy meeting salted for Sept. 20-21.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ6, +0.18% rose 39 points, or 0.2%, to 17,959.00, while those for the S&P 500 index ESZ6, +0.15% added 3 points, or 0.2%, to 2,117. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQZ6, +0.31% climbed 14 points, or 0.3%, to 4,743.25.
Meanwhile, futures also were tracking fluctuations in oil prices, as West Texas Intermediate CLV6, +0.67% shifted from gains to losses.
Slumping crude-oil prices weighed on stocks on Wednesday, leaving the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.18% and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.06% to close in negative territory.
Data deluge: In the limelight were retail sales for August, which fell for the first time in five months.
The ICE dollar index DXY, +0.03% fell after retail sales, down 0.1% at 95.246 in premarket trade.
The U.S. central bank is widely expected to hold fire next week when it meets, with the CME FedWatch Tool pointing to an only 15% probability of a rate hike. However, for the December meeting, the probability currently stands at almost 53%.
There won’t be any comments from Fed officials in the run-up to the meeting as the central bank is in its so-called blackout period.
Economic news: Weekly jobless claims ticked up slightly to 260,000 but the level of layoffs continues to be the lowest since the 1970s
U.S. wholesale prices were flat in August, mostly because of sharp declines in the cost of food and gasoline.
The Empire State manufacturing index, which measures conditions in the New York area, remained in contraction territory. The so-called Philly Fed data—a reading of manufacturing in the Philadelphia region—increased for a second consecutive month.
See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar
Movers and shakers: Shares of Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc. AERI, +7.53% soared 57% in thin premarket trade after the drug discovery company’s treatment for lowering fluid pressure inside the eyeball yielded promising results.
Apple Inc. AAPL, +3.54% climbed 1% ahead of the bell, set for a fourth straight day of gains. The tech giant has been among best performing shares this week, following strong demand for its new iPhones and upbeat broker comments. Apple also tends to do well in times of market volatility, which as been a major theme this week.
Oracle Corp. ORCL, +0.17% is set to report quarterly earnings after the market close. Read:Oracle earnings clouded by NetSuite acquisition uncertainty
Other markets: Stocks in Asia closed mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, -1.26% sliding as a stronger yen USDJPY, +0.03% put pressure on exporters. Markets in South Korea, China and Taiwan closed for a public holiday.
European markets were treading water waffling after the Bank of England held interest rates steady on Thursday.
Metals prices were mostly lower, with gold GCZ6, -0.33% off 0.1% at $1,323.40 an ounce.