Dow futures unchanged; Amazon layoffs, weekly jobless claims in focus

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By Peter Nurse

© Reuters
Dow futures unchanged; Amazon layoffs, weekly jobless claims in focus — U.S. stocks are seen opening in a subdued fashion Thursday, as investors await more important employment data as well as comments from Federal Reserve policymakers after the release of minutes from the central bank’s latest meeting. 

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At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was flat, S&P 500 Futures traded 3 points, or 0.1%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbd 30 points, or 0.3%.

The three main indices closed higher Wednesday in choppy trading, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 130 points, or 0.4%, the broad-based S&P 500 gaining 0.8% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ending 0.7% higher.

That said, the averages gave up some of their gains following the release of minutes from the Fed’s December meeting, at which the policymakers indicated the central bank won’t be cutting interest rates any time soon.

Fed officials Raphael Bostic and James Bullard are also both slated to speak later in Thursday’s session, and investors will be tuning into their comments for more clues as to future policy.

Additionally, the weekly initial jobless claims are due at 08:30 ET (13:30 GMT), and will provide more evidence of the strength of the U.S. labor market, ahead of Friday’s widely-watched monthly jobs report.

In the corporate sector, quarterly earnings are scheduled from the likes of spirits and beer maker Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) and packaged food provider ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG).

Elsewhere, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock rose 2.6% premarket after the online retail giant’s Chief Executive Andy Jassy said layoffs will now increase to more than 18,000 roles as part of a workforce reduction it previously disclosed.

T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) will also be in the spotlight after the telecoms giant delivered record customer growth, adding 6.4 million postpaid customers and 2 million broadband customers in 2022.

Oil prices rose Thursday, rebounding after two sessions of steep losses as rising COVID-19 cases in China and an IMF warning on a potential recession raised fears of weak demand in 2023.

Data from the industry group American Petroleum Institute indicated that U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the last week of December. However, releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve have contributed to this build, suggesting underlying fuel consumption remained robust through the holiday season.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be studied later in the session for confirmation.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.9% higher at $74.25 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.9% to $79.33. 

Both contracts suffered cumulative declines of more than 9% on Tuesday and Wednesday, the biggest two-day losses at the start of a year since 1991, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,850.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0607.

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