Futures slip ahead of retail earnings

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[May 11, 2017]  By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) -
U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Thursday ahead of a set of earnings from big U.S. retailers, including Macy's and Nordstrom.

* The surprise sacking of FBI Director James Comey by President Donald Trump on Tuesday sparked a risk-off mood in the market over worries that a potential fallout from the move could distract the president from pursuing his plans to cut taxes.

* The dollar declined against a basket of six major currencies, while prices of safe-haven gold strengthened.

* U.S. retail companies will be in focus on Thursday, with earnings from Macy's and Nordstrom expected to set the tone for other retailers.

* A report is likely to show unemployment claims rose to 245,000 last week. Also due is a reading of the producer price index for April. Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* Oil prices rose to a one-week high amid falling U.S. inventories. [O/R]

* The Dow fell slightly, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged up on Wednesday as investors digested the Comey ouster and a batch of weak earnings. Nasdaq also closed at a record high.

* Shares of Snapchat owner Snap Inc plunged 22 percent in heavy premarket trading after the company reported a slowdown in user growth and revenue in its first earnings report as a public company.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

* Straight Path  plunged nearly 22 percent to $175.95 after agreeing to be bought by Verizon  for $184 per share and terminated an earlier deal with AT&T.

* Whole Foods was up 3.4 percent after the grocer shook up its board and appointed a new CFO.

Futures snapshot at 6:53 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 19 points, or 0.09 percent, with 9,656 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.16 percent, with 68,860 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.75 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 13,504 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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