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U.S. Futures Mixed; Jobless Claims, Morgan Stanley Earnings Due

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By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening mixed Thursday, ahead of more testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, key unemployment data as well as more earnings, including from banking giant Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).

At 7 AM ET (1100 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 170 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 Futures traded 12 points, or 0.3%, lower, while Nasdaq 100 Futures gained 24 points, or 0.2%.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell returns to Capitol Hill later Thursday for the second day of his semi-annual testimony, this time to the Senate Banking Committee.

It’s unlikely that he'll stray too far from the substance of his comments the previous day, when he stated that the scaling back of the central bank’s aggressive monetary support was still “a ways off.”

His dovish stance could well be influenced by the apparent slowdown in the Chinese economy, which emerged from the pandemic-induced lockdown sooner than the American equivalent.

Also of interest will be the release of the weekly initial jobless claims data, the most current gauge of the state of the U.S. labor market. This is due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), and is expected to show a slowly recovering market, with claims expected to fall to 360,000 last week, a drop from 373,000 the previous week.

Also due for release, 45 minutes later, will be the June industrial production number, which is expected to increase 0.6% from May, while June manufacturing production is expected to edge up 0.2% for the previous month.

In the corporate sector, Morgan Stanley is the last of the major U.S. banks to report its second-quarter earnings before the open Thursday. The lenders have generally reported a jump in profits, but not enough to seriously impress investors. UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) has already reported, showing aa 36% drop in profit as medical costs normalized. The company nonetheless raised its guidance for the full year.

Also in the spotlight will be Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) after it poached Mike Verdu from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to act as vice president of game development, leading to speculation the tech giant may add video games to its streaming platform.

Crude oil prices weakened Thursday, weighed by an unexpected rise in U.S. gasoline stocks, according to data from the Energy Information Administration, released late Wednesday.

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures were down 1.8% at $71.81 a barrel, while Brent futures were down 1.6% at $73.59 a barrel.

Adding to the pressure were reports that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were close to resolving the standoff that has prevented a group of top producers, known as OPEC+, from increasing much needed supply to the global market. 

Additionally, gold futures were flat at $1,825/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.1820.


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