US pre-open: Stocks set for slightly lower start
(ShareCast News) - Wall Street's main equity gauges are being called to start the session down by roughly a quarter of a percentage point on average amid continued heavy scrutiny of events on Capitol Hill by the media, although some traders cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
As of 1321 BST the Dow Jones mini futures contract is down by 56.0 points at 20,549.00, alongside a four point drop to 2,353.50 for its equivalent tracking the S&P 500.
Overnight, Reuters reported that former national Security adviser Michael Flynn and other Trump advisers sent at least 18 calls and e-mails to Russian officials or related people during the last seven months of the presidential elections.
That followed news that the US Department of Justice appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential elections.
Nonetheless, the same sources who told Reuters of those contacts reportedly said no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia had been seen in the communications reviewed thus far.
"Equity indices are once again struggling as a Washington DC-inspired risk-off mood moves into a second day, global media relentless in its quest for more White House scoops. However, the European pull back remains relatively subdued in the wake of the worst US session since September showing that, despite all the talk, investors aren't reaching for the panic button yet," said Henry Croft at Accendo Markets.
Still on the economic calendar for later on Thursday was the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for the month of April at 1500 BST.
That would be followed by a speech from Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester at 1915 BST.
Initial weekly US unemployment claims decreased by 4,000 during the latest reference week to reach 232,000 (consensus: 240,000).
In parallel, the Philly Fed's manufacturing index gauge jumped from a reading of 22.0 in April to 38.8 for May (consensus: 18.8).
Stock in Ralp Lauren is higher in premarket trading after the company reported much better-than-expected first quarter earnings per share of 89 cents, versus the analyst consensus calling for 78 cents.
Ann Taylor parent company Ascena on the other hand is lower after the firm issued a profit-warning.