Investing.com – U.S. futures fell on Thursday after the European Union slashed its growth forecasts for this year.
The European Commission lowered its growth for all of the three biggest economies in the euro zone this year, highlighting a slowdown in China and spillovers from that country's trade conflict with the U.S.
The lower forecasts could also revive last year's dispute between the EU and Italy over budget deficits. Italy only escaped disciplinary measures with a budget draft that assumed much more than the 0.2% growth the Commission now forecasts for it.
The news contrasted sharply with comments late Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who highlighted the resilience of the U.S. economy in a speech in Washington.
“We’ve had some big events, some surprises like Brexit...and the system has been strong,” he said, adding that the U.S. is in 'a good place' with low unemployment and solid growth.
The S&P 500 futures fell 17 points or 0.65% as of 6:40 AM ET (11:40 GMT) while Dow futures lost 156 points or 0.62% and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures decreased 46 points or 0.66%.
SunTrust Banks (NYSE:STI) jumped 1.8% in premarket trading after news that it was merging with BB&T (NYSE:BBT) in an all-stock merger worth $66 billion. The deal would make it the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. by assets.
Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH) soared 11% after it beat estimates due to a surge in the number of Tinder subscribers.
Elsewhere, USA Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:USAT) slumped 24% after it disclosed that it would restate some of its past financial statements. Semiconductor company Micron (NASDAQ:MU) fell 1.25%, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) slipped 0.94% after a German cartel authority decision restricting data transfers between Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram accounts. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) systems slipped 0.44%.
In commodities, gold futures fell 0.27% to a one-week low of $1,310.85 a troy ounce, while crude oil decreased 0.7% to $53.60 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, surged 0.24% to a two-week high of 96.380.