Sentiment has been bordering on the negative, as indicated by the index futures, which point to a lower opening by Wall Street on Thursday. The somber mood was primarily due to a warning that came from Moody's about a possible downgrade of several European financial institutions and some European countries. With some of the domestic economic numbers coming in mixed, traders may also express apprehension ahead of another slew of first-tier economic data, including the jobless claims data, housing starts report and the results of another regional manufacturing survey.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are receding 31 points, the S&P 500 futures are slipping 4.70 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are moving down 2.75 points.
U.S. stocks retreated on Wednesday amid the release of some mixed economic data and fears over Greece being able to avail of the bailout package.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its housing starts reports for January at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate housing starts of 675,000 for January, while building permits are also expected at 684,000.
Around the same time, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended February 11th at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to edge up to 365,000 in the recent reporting week from 358,000 in the previous week.
The Labor Department will also release its producer price inflation report for January at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect the headline index for January to have risen by 0.4 percent and the core producer price index may have increased by 0.2 percent.
Additionally, the results of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing survey are due out at 10 am ET. Economists expect the diffusion index of current activity to show a reading of 9.5 for February after rising to 7.3 in January.
In a Fed speech, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak to the FDIC's "Future of Community Banking Conference" along with Acting FDIC Director Martin Gruenberg, in Arlington, Virginia at 9 am ET.
In corporate news, CBS (CBS) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings came in at 57 cents per share on revenues of $3.78 billion. The earnings exceeded estimates, while revenues were below estimates.
Blue Nile's (NILE) fourth quarter net income missed the consensus estimate. Net sales also trailed expectations. The company issued 2012 earnings guidance that was below estimate, while its revenue guidance was in line with estimates.
Marriott International (MAR) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share, a penny below estimates. Revenues were at $3.69 billion, almost flat with last year and missing the consensus estimate. The company's fiscal year 2012 earnings guidance surrounded the consensus estimate.
Clearwire's (CLWR) fourth quarter loss widened from last year and was also bigger than what analysts expected. The company's 2012 revenues guidance trailed estimates.
MEMC Electronics' (WFR) fourth quarter non-GAAP net loss came in at 9 cents per share compared to the loss of 4 cents expected by economists. The company's non-GAAP revenues were also below estimate.
Avis Budget (CAR) reported a wider loss for its fourth quarter, which however was in line with estimates, while revenues trailed estimates.
NetEase.com (NTES) reported better than expected fourth quarter results.
NetApp's (NTAP) third quarter adjusted earnings and revenues were in line with estimates. The company also issued a healthy guidance for its fourth quarter.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings and revenues, while its first quarter revenue was below estimate.
Baidu (BIDU), Applied Materials (AMAT), BJ Restaurants (BJRI), Blue Coat (BCSI), Cloud Peak Energy (CLD), DaVita (DVA), Nordstrom (JWN) and SunPower (SPWR) are among the companies scheduled to report their quarterly results after the markets close.
The major Asian stocks declined across the board, as doubts resurfaced over whether Greece will succeed in getting the bailout package.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average fell 22.24 points or 0.24 percent before closing at 9,238 and Australia's All Ordinaries ended down 70.20 points or 1.62 percent at 4,257.
A report released by the Australia's statistical office showed that Australia's jobless rate slipped 0.1 point to 5.1 percent in January. Meanwhile, the economy added more jobs than had been expected in the month.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index retreated 87.95 points or 0.41 percent to 21,277.
The European markets are also retreating, with Germany's DAX down 0.8 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are declining moderately.
In corporate news, French bank Societe Generale reported a decline in its fourth quarter net income to 100 million euros from 874 million euros in the year-ago period, weighed down by write downs related to its sovereign debt and weak trading revenues. Insurer Axa reported a sharp drop in its fourth quarter net income, also impacted by its holding of Greek assets.
by RTT Staff Writer
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