U.S. Futures Mixed; Earnings and Q3 GDP in Focus

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Investing.com – U.S. stocks are seen mixed Thursday, amid caution after the hefty selloff of the previous session as the earnings season continues at a hectic pace, with a key gauge of economic growth set to be released later.

At 6:55 AM ET (1155 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 5 points, or 0.2%, lower, the Dow Futures contract fell 111 points, or 0.4%, while Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 34 points, or 0.3%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 3.4% lower Wednesday, at a three-month low, while the S&P 500 index lost 3.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.7%, both to one-month lows. The Dow has closed lower four days in a row, its longest losing streak since February, and these indices are on course for their worst week in seven months. 

Confidence is fragile with five days to go before the presidential election, amid worries over rising numbers of coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns with little chance of a new stimulus package in the near future.

Investors looking for positive catalysts will look to the ongoing earnings season, with a total of 70 companies from the S&P 500 due to report Thursday.

The oil sector has had a dreadful time during the pandemic. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is due to report before the bell, after European rival Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) raised its dividend earlier Thursday as it reported a larger-than-expected profit for the third quarter. 

A number of the big tech giants are scheduled to report earnings after Thursday’s closing bell, including Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

Investors will also be looking for some good news from the preliminary estimate of U.S. third quarter GDP, due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT). Forecasts are calling for a record rebound of 31.9% after a historic 31.4% plunge in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic caused the economy to slump.

The weekly report on initial jobless claims will also be closely watched amid concerns that the recovery in the labor market is slowing.

Oil prices retreated Thursday, as traders returned to fretting about the outlook for global demand in the wake of the new Covid-driven restrictions in Europe after the impact of Hurricane Zeta weakened.

Additionally, U.S. Energy Information Administration data Wednesday showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 4.3 million barrels last week, adding to worries about a potential supply glut.

U.S. crude futures traded 4.3% lower at $35.80 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract was down 3.9% at $38.06. Both contracts fell around 5% on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, gold futures were down 0.4% at $1,871.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% lower at 1.1705.