The mixed performance by the futures comes as traders are digesting the European Central Bank’s monetary policy announcement.
The ECB sprung no surprises as it announced that it will reduce the size of its asset purchases at the start of next year while extending them for nine months, the "lower for longer" style of tapering that economists had expected a dovish Mario Draghi to deliver.
Monthly asset purchases under the asset purchase program will continue at the current monthly pace of 60 billion euros until the end of December 2017, the bank said in its statement.
From January 2018, the net asset purchases will be reduced to a monthly pace of 30 billion euros, which will continue until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim, the bank added.
Without announcing an end-date for asset purchases, the ECB has retained room for tweaking or extending them in future if the euro area economic outlook worsens.
Stocks moved notably lower over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after ending the previous session mostly higher.
The Dow fell 112.30 points or 0.5 percent to 23,329.46, the Nasdaq slid 34.54 points or 0.5 percent to 6,563.89 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.98 points or 0.5 percent to 2,557.15.
Profit taking contributed to the weakness on Wall Street after the Dow climbed to a new record closing high in the previous session.
On the U.S. economic front, orders for long-lasting manufacturing goods surged in September, according to new government statistics released Wednesday. The increase was more than economists had expected.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that durable goods orders rose by 2.2% in September. Economists had expected the figure to rise by 1.0%.
New home sales in the U.S. showed a substantial increase in the month of September, according to a separate report released by the Commerce Department.
The report said new home sales surged up by 18.9 percent to an annual rate of 667,000 in September from a revised rate of 561,000 in August.
Railroad stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Railroads Index down by 2.4 percent.
Natural gas, electronic storage, airline and networking stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.
Commodity, Currency Markets
Crude oil futures are creeping up $0.04 to $52.22 a barrel after falling $0.29 to $52.18 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,275.40, down $3.60 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,279. On Wednesday, gold inched up $0.70.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.86 yen compared to the 113.74 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1743 compared to yesterday’s $1.1813.
Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Thursday after U.S. shares fell the most in seven weeks overnight in the wake of a string of disappointing earnings reports and rising bond yields.
Investors also digested regional corporate earnings results and looked for direction from the European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day.
China's Shanghai Composite index rose 11.35 points or 0.3 percent to 3,408.24 after President Xi Jinping's vast "Belt and Road" infrastructure project was included in the ruling Communist Party's constitution. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 100.51 points or 0.4 percent to 28,202.38.
Japanese shares eked out modest gains on earnings optimism and the prospect of further stimulus from the government. The Nikkei 225 Index edged up 32.16 points or 0.2 percent to 21,739.78, while the broader Topix index closed 0.1 percent higher at 1.753.90.
Brokerage Daiwa Securities Group rallied 5.4 percent after announcing a share buyback. Panasonic climbed 2.5 percent on a Nikkei report that it plans to expand production across all its battery factories. On the other hand, Advantest and Kobe Steel were among the prominent decliners.
Australian shares recovered from early losses to end modestly higher, led by gold miners, healthcare and consumer staple stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 10.70 points or 0.2 percent to 5,916.30, and the broader All Ordinaries Index ended up 9.80 points or 0.2 percent at 5,982.50.
Newcrest Mining, Regis Resources and Evolution Mining climbed 1-4 percent as gold recovered from 2-1/2 week lows. Blood products giant CSL edged up 0.3 percent and retailer Wesfarmers advanced 0.7 percent. Vitamin maker Blackmores gained half a percent after the company ended its infant formula venture with Bega.
Meanwhile, lender ANZ fell 1.2 percent after it reported an 18 percent jump in annual cash profit but cautioned on its revenue growth outlook. Qantas Airways lost 1.4 percent after the airline warned that it expects a tough second half due to rising fuel costs.
Mining giant Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 3.6 percent as it reported a slight dip in the iron shipped in the September quarter and downgraded its forward price guidance. Heavyweight BHP Billiton dropped 0.7 percent, hit by a drop in iron ore prices.
European stocks have risen on Thursday as traders react to the European Central Bank’s monetary policy announcement.
The focus also remained on Spain as the government prepares to impose direct rule in a bid to stop Catalonia breaking away.
While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.5 percent.
Swiss engineering firm ABB has rallied after its third-quarter earnings beat forecasts. STMicroelectronics has also jumped after the semiconductor company raised its full-year outlook after reporting a surge in third-quarter net income.
Spanish banking group Banco Santander has risen about 1 percent after delivering another solid quarter of results.
Meanwhile, Norwegian energy firm Statoil has fallen after its third quarter net loss widened from last year due to a number of impairment charges.
Nokia has also moved to the downside after the Finnish company warned of challenges in its networks business after posting a 9 percent drop in network sales in the third quarter.
In economic news, German consumer confidence is set to fall in November, survey data from market research group GfK showed. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index unexpectedly fell to 10.7 in November from 10.8 in October.
U.S. Economic Reports
The Labor Department released a report showing a modest rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended October 21st.
The report said initial jobless claims rose to 233,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level of 223,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 235,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.
At 10 am ET, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on pending home sales in the month of September. Pending home sales are expected to inch up by 0.2 percent.
A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari is due to give Welcoming Remarks at Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Fall Conference in Minneapolis at 10:30 am ET.
At 1 pm ET, the Treasury Department is scheduled to announce the results of its auction of $28 billion worth of seven-year notes.
This news has been published by title European Stocks Set To Open Slightly Higher, Breaking Away From Bearish Global Sentiment
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