Brent crude futures were up 0.18 percent at $44.12 after the
International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast a gradual draw in
stocks through the third quarter. [O/R]
Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday, albeit in low volume
trading, as a 2 percent drop in oil prices pulled its major
indexes away from record levels.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is
expected to have slipped by 4,000 to 265,000 last week,
continuing a trend of being below the 300,000 mark for the 75th
consecutive week. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
Shares of Alibaba <BABA.N> jumped nearly 5 percent premarket
after the Chinese e-commerce giant reported a 59 percent rise in
quarterly revenue. Yahoo <YHOO.O>, which owns a stake in Alibaba,
rose 2.4 percent.
Kohl's, which kicks off the two-day department stores earnings
period, rose 3.8 percent to $39.50 after its second-quarter
revenue beat estimates. Shares of Macy's <M.N>, which is to
report at 8:00 a.m. ET, rose 1.5 percent, while Nordstrom <JWN.N>,
whose earnings are due after markets close, was slightly higher.
Better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and a set of strong
economic data have pushed the S&P 500 to a series of record
intraday highs since July.
No Federal Reserve official is expected to speak this week, but
investors are awaiting Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at the
Jackson Hole conference on Aug. 26.
Valeant <VRX.N> fell nearly 9 percent in heavy trading after the
Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. federal prosecutors had
opened a criminal investigation on the drugmaker.
Shake Shack <SHAK.N> dropped 7 percent to $37.99 after the
company's quarterly comparable-sales growth slowed more than
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by
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