New York - US stock index futures rose on Thursday, following five days of losses on the S&P 500 and Dow industrials, with investors still focused on budget and debt negotiations in Washington and the possible impact of an ongoing impasse on the economy.
The US Congress, struggling to avert a government shutdown next week, was warned by the Obama administration on Wednesday that the Treasury was quickly running out of funds to pay government bills and could soon face a damaging debt default.
Investor angst was heightened as lawmakers grappled with another potential crisis: Federal agency shutdowns that could begin with the new fiscal year next Tuesday, unless Congress comes up with emergency funds.
Economic data due to be released include weekly initial jobless claims and the final estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product growth at 8:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 SA time) as well as pending home sales for August at 10:00 a.m. (16:00 SA time).
“Certainly the data is important as the Fed has reiterated we are data-dependent,” said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York. “But it takes a backseat to the political theater going on in Washington right now.”
Hogan said lawmakers have given themselves very little time to come up with an agreement.
“I hope it doesn't take a big (market) slide to get them to say 'this is what happens when we mess up',” he said.
S&P 500 futures rose 3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 14 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 22 points.
J.C. Penney slumped more than 8 percent in premarket trading. The struggling retailer is looking to raise as much as $1 billion in new equity to build its cash reserves as the holiday season approaches, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.
Bed Bath and Beyond rose 6 percent in light premarket trading, a day after it reported a jump in second-quarter profit as the US housing market recovery spurred demand for its products.
Hertz Global shares dropped 9.4 percent in premarket trading after the car rental company cut its full-year forecast.
Eli Lilly fell 5.2 percent in premarket trading after its experimental cancer drug failed to improve survival among breast cancer patients without their cancer worsening in a late-stage trial.
Nike Inc will report results after the closing bell. It will be the first earnings report for the retailer as a member of the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average. - Reuters