U.S. stock futures point to a lower start; Eyes on ECB decision and jobless claims

index futures

Stocks set to open slightly lower

U.S. stock futures were indicating a slightly lower open for Wall Street on Thursday after the market staged a rally in the previous session, partially reversing a steep decline in technology stocks over the last few sessions.

As of 5:50 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow were down 81.5 points, or 0.29% to 27,890.5. The S&P 500 futures shed 9.42 points, or 0.28% to 3,390.88 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 28.37 points, or 0.25% to 11,364.38.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rallied 2.7% to end Wednesday’s session at 11,141.56 after losing 10% in the prior three sessions. The Dow jumped 1.6% to 27,940.47, while the broader S&P 500 gained 2% close at 3,398.96.

ECB monetary policy decision eyed

The European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision will be in focus today. The central bank is scheduled to announce its latest decision on interest rates and monetary policy at 7:45 a.m. ET, followed by a news conference from President Christine Lagarde at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Analysts aren’t really expecting any major change in policy stance but are focusing on the message the bank will deliver on its inflation forecasts. Some analysts believe the bank could signal more stimulus to continue protecting the Euro zone economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

Unemployment claims data on tap

Traders are also awaiting data on initial jobless claims for the week ended September 5. The data, to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show another 850,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment insurance benefits last week.

That would represent a continued improvement, though a slow improvement. Last week claims dropped below 1 million for the second time since the coronavirus pandemic sparked widespread business closures, rising by 881,000.

Continuing claims are seen coming in at 12.904 million compared to 13.254 million during the prior week. Although claims have dropped from a March peak of about 7 million, they are still above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000.