Stock Futures Fall Amid Earnings, Jobless Data

U.S. stock indexes were poised for muted opening losses, as investors parsed another batch of earnings reports and data on the labor market.

Futures for the S&P 500 slipped 0.2% Thursday, a day after the broad stocks gauge climbed for a sixth consecutive session and closed at its second-highest level on record. Contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average—which also stands just shy of its mid-August record—ticked down 0.2%. Futures for the tech-focused Nasdaq-100 also fell 0.2%.

Data showed jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low last week, a sign layoffs remain low as companies struggle to hire workers. Filings for initial unemployment benefits fell to 290,000, from 296,000 the week before, the Labor Department said.

Thursday’s earnings reports will offer clues about consumer spending habits. AT&T shares rose 1.4% ahead of the bell after the company said it expected full-year earnings to reach the high end of its target. Blackstone shares rose 2.8% on net income that almost doubled in the third quarter.

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Whirlpool are scheduled to report results after markets close.

Stocks have risen in recent days, after solid earnings helping quell concerns that sent markets lower at the start of fall. Among those worries: A slowdown in China’s economy, supply-chain blockages that have hampered sectors such as manufacturing and inflation pressures that could prompt central banks to withdraw stimulus.

Of the 80 companies on the S&P 500 to have reported through Wednesday, 81% had topped analysts’ earnings forecasts, according to FactSet, better than three-quarters that did so each quarter in 2019.

“We’ve gone through a period of hesitation that’s brought a bit of volatility but I think stocks will keep trending higher,” said Paul Jackson, head of asset allocation research at Invesco. He expects households to keep spending savings accumulated during the pandemic. 

International Business Machines shares fell 5% premarket after the company reported weaker revenue that analysts had expected in the latest quarter. HP raised its dividend and outlook for the 2022 fiscal year, boosting shares 4.5% premarket. Tesla slipped 1.4% after the auto maker said late Wednesday it had notched a third-straight record quarterly profit

Existing-home sales are expected to have rebounded in September after an August slowdown. The data are scheduled for 10 a.m.

Overseas markets were broadly lower. Shares of China Evergrande Group slumped 13% in Hong Kong after the embattled developer canceled plans to sell a majority stake in its property-management unit, a setback in attempts to ease its continuing cash crisis.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.5%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 1.9% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index ticked up 0.2%.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2%, led down by stocks in the basic-resources, auto and industrial sectors. Miners Anglo American and BHP Group both fell around 3.4%, as copper prices pulled back from recent highs.

In the bond market, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes edged up to 1.657% Thursday from 1.635% Wednesday. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

The Turkish lira hit a record low, losing 2.2% against the greenback, with one dollar buying 9.4252 lira. Turkey’s central bank lowered its key interest rate to 16% from 18%, a larger cut than was expected by investors.

Solid earnings have helped quell concerns that sent markets lower earlier in the fall.

Photo: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

Write to Joe Wallace at joe.wallace@wsj.com

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