Stock Futures Dip Ahead of U.S. Data

Tickers in this article: AAPL ADBE CIEN GOOG KCG ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were mostly lower Thursday as investors digested the latest Federal Reserve policy announcement and awaited a number of domestic economic releases.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 1 point, or 12.45 points below fair value, at 13,229. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.70 points, or 2.18 points below fair value, at 1425. Futures for the Nasdaq were flat, or 4.02 points below fair value, at 2670.

Major U.S. stock averages reversed gains in the final hour of trading on Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke answered reporters' questions.

The drop came despite an earlier spike in the major indices after the central bank fulfilled the wishes of the markets for a fresh round of stimulus.

"Monetary policy will remain as much as science and the benchmarks outlined Wednesday are not binding constraints on policy," said Eric Green, global head of research for rates and foreign exchange at TD Securities. "There are three stages to this policy regime....First, accommodation....Second....let it run....Third....begin to tighten. We are in the first stage, and will get into the second stage in 2014 and we expect the Fed will remain accommodative long after the economy has gained traction.'"

Stage three, said Green, still looks set to be the second half of 2015.

On the U.S. "fiscal cliff" front, tensions are once again rising as Republicans criticize President Barack Obama's most recent budget plans as unbalanced and said they concentrate too heavily on tax increases on wealthy Americans and not enough on spending reductions.

A spate of U.S. economic releases occur at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday.

The Labor Department is anticipated by economists to report that initial jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 8 remained at 370,000 and that continuing claims for the week ended Dec. 1 rose to 3.21 million from 3.205 million.

The Census Bureau is predicted to say that retail sales increased 0.5% in November after falling 0.3% in October.. Excluding the auto components, sales remained flat last month, like in October.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to say that producer prices fell 0.5% in November after declining 0.2% in October and that the core data rose 0.2% after being down 0.2%.

At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau is anticipated to say that total business inventories rose 0.4% in October after increasing 0.7% in September.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.13% and the DAX in Germany was behind by 0.4% as the European markets assessed the latest comments from the Fed.

On Thursday, European Union finance ministers reached a banking union agreement.

Japan's Nikkei average finished ahead by 1.68% on Thursday thanks to a sharp decline in the yen currency. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled off by 0.26% as "fiscal cliff" uncertainties were offset by the persistent outperformance of Hong Kong-listed Chinese shares driven by foreign investment interest.

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