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Retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December, tumbling 1.2 percent when the Wall Street expectation was for an increase of 0.2 percent. The report was one of the data points that was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown.
Producer prices fell for a second straight month in January, leading to the smallest annual increase in 1-1/2 years. With inflation being held at bay it could keep the Fed on hold concerning interest rates. Prices dipped 0.1 percent, putting PPI for 12 months at 2 percent.
Initial claims for jobless benefits rose last week by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||25405.12||-138.15||-0.54%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||7389.6906||-30.69||-0.41%|
Investors are also keeping an eye on trade talks between the U.S. and China being held in Beijing. Optimism that a deal can be struck by the Mar. 1 deadline has helped to send the S&P and Nasdaq to 4 days of gains.
The proposal still does not meet President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Senate and House of Representatives aimed to pass the legislation later on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Then it is up to Trump to review and sign it into law.
Shares of Coca-Cola were trading lower in the premarket as profit of 43 cents a share was in line with expectations, while revenue fell 6 percent. The beverage giant’s full-year profit forecast is well below Wall Street expectations.
In Asian markets on Thursday, China’s Shanghai Composite closed almost 0.1 percent lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.2 percent and Japan’s Nikkei finished the day flat.
In Europe, London’s FTSE added 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC rose 0.3 percent.