With the fourth-quarter earnings season wrapping up, investors
are awaiting new triggers to drive the market, including a
potential U.S.-China trade agreement and Friday's jobs report.
Optimism over the chances of a trade deal as early as this month
and the Federal Reserve's cautious stance on raising interest
rates has led to a 10.6 percent surge in the S&P 500 this year,
though the rally seems to have lost its steam.
In the past three sessions, the S&P 500 has retreated about 1
percent from a four-month high it hit on Friday to close above
the 2,800-point mark, a level, which investors say, is acting as
a technical resistance for the benchmark index.
Also on investors' radar is a European Central Bank meeting that
is expected to cut growth forecasts and hint at a new round of
ultra-cheap loans, hoping to stop an unexpected slowdown from
becoming a downturn.
"Stocks are headed for a weak opening as the trade focus and the
policy meeting of the ECB are in focus," said Peter Cardillo,
chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New
ECB's decision is due at 7:45 a.m. ET (1245 GMT), while
President Mario Draghi's news conference is scheduled for 8:30
a.m. ET (1330 GMT).
At 7:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 60 points, or 0.23
percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.14 percent and
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 12.75 points, or 0.18 percent.
The heavyweight FAANG stocks lost some ground in early premarket
trading with Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Netflix
Inc and Alphabet Inc down between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent.
Among other movers, Burlington Stores Inc slipped 4.3 percent
after the off-price retailer missed quarterly revenue estimates.
Zayo Group Holdings Inc rose 1.2 percent after activist hedge
fund Starboard Value LP built a stake in the communications
infrastructure provider and pushed for its sale.
In economic news, the Labor Department's report is likely to
show that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose
225,000 at the end of last week from 210,000 a week earlier. The
data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
That comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls
report on Friday.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru;
Editing by Arun Koyyur)
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