RTRS: Wall St. set to open little changed after GDP data
By Tanya Agrawal
U.S. stock futures pared losses, setting up Wall Street to open little changed on Thursday as the upwardly revised fourth-quarter GDP growth rate underscored strength in the domestic economy.
Gross domestic product increased 2.1 percent, compared with the previously reported 1.9 percent, the Commerce Department said. The economy grew 3.5 percent in the third quarter.
The market has been choppy in the past few days as investors look for new catalysts and ahead of first-quarter corporate earnings.
Investors have been assessing what the Republicans' failure to pass a healthcare bill means for tax reform and the rest of President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda, hopes for which have helped drive stocks to record highs.
The stock rally may be near its peak, according to a Reuters poll of strategists, who forecast U.S. shares will gain less than 3 percent between now and year-end. The S&P has risen 10.3 percent since the U.S. election.
The rapid climb in equities has raised concerns regarding valuations, with the S&P 500 trading at nearly 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months against its long-term average of 15 times.
The market will be looking at quarterly earnings to see if the lofty valuations can be supported. First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 10.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"The market is looking for new catalysts in the form of fresh policy news from the Trump administration that can help regain the confidence in his pro-growth mandate after the healthcare bill disappointment," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"Investors are also looking ahead to earnings to see if companies can deliver what the market has already priced in with the current valuations."
Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 8 points, or 0.04 percent, with 15,091 contracts changing hands at 8:36 a.m. ET 91236 GMT).
S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 1 points, or 0.04 percent, with 100,615 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 1.25 points, or 0.02 percent, on volume of 21,177 contracts.
Economic data showed that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell less than expected last week, with initial claims slipping 3,000 to 258,000 for the week ended March 25.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan, San Francisco Fed head John Williams and New York Fed President William Dudley are all scheduled to make appearances.
On Wednesday, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he favored further interest rate hikes this year, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the Fed should raise rates three more times in 2017.
Shares of Lululemon Athletica (LULU.O) plunged 20.9 percent to $52.42 in premarket trading after the Canadian yoga and leisure apparel retailer said first-quarter comparable sales were expected to fall.
ConocoPhillips (COP.N) rose 8.3 percent to $49.75 after the company said it agreed to sell oil sands and western Canadian natural gas assets to Cenovus Energy (CVE.N). Cenovus was down 7.9 percent at $12.04.