LONDON (ShareCast) – US stock futures were pointing to a mixed open on Thursday, as the rally in the dollar petered out somewhat and Asian stocks surged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was expected to open 28 points down, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were expected to begin the session seven points up and 24 points down, respectively Overnight, the Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.4% to a 15-year high, as Asian stocks were boosted by upbeat Chinese data, while the dollar eased against the yen.
The greenback lost 0.29% against the yen and 0.28% and 0.76% against the pound and the euro respectively, as the European currency staged a timid recovery after plunging to a new 12-year low during Asia trade.
“It has been the sharp surge in the US dollar that has unnerved US stock market investors in recent days,” said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler.
“US dollar strength has prompted some capital flows to Europe in which export-orientated companies are expected to gain from the corresponding euro weakness.” US retail sales volumes dropped by 0.6% month-on-month in February (consensus: 0.3%), possibly impacted by the poor weather.
Initial US unemployment claims dropped by an outsized 36,000 over the seven days ended on 7 March, to reach 289,000 according to the Department of Labor.
The data came as Wall Street continues to speculate over the timing of the next Federal Reserve rate hike.
“Retail sales for February are expected to show a monthly rise following the disappointing decline in January,” Lawler wrote before the numbers.
“The retail sales data will take on extra import for stocks given its propensity to move the US dollar index which sits just below twelve year highs.” In company news, Citigroup (NYSE: C – news) gained 3% in pre-market trading after it was among the 28 banks that were given Fed’s approval to return to capital investors.
Acadia Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS: ACAD – news) plunged over 22% before the bell after announcing late on Wednesday that it would delay submitting a new-drug application for Nuplazid.
Burger chain Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK – news) and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD – news) fell 6.8% and 7.8% respectively, the former after missing fourth quarter earnings forecast and the latter after posting disappointing sales growth.