With traders reacting negatively to the latest headlines out of Europe, stocks may come under pressure in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 83 points.
The downward momentum for the markets comes as traders digest remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who is speaking at a press conference following the central bank's monetary policy meeting.
At the meeting, the ECB decided to leave interest rates unchanged following a quarter basis point cut at its previous meeting last month.
Draghi told reporters that the Euro is "irreversible" and said that the ECB "may undertake outright open market operations" as well as "further non-standard measures."
However, traders seem disappointed that Draghi did not go further following his remarks last week promising to do whatever is necessary to support the beleaguered eurozone.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "By talking cautiously on the euro economy and playing down an inflation concerns, the ECB is ready to go if needed."
"There is no talk however of giving the ESM a bank license at some point, which would be the large pot of money that many dream of for halting the rise in bond yields," he added. "Bottom line, Draghi laid out what the markets realistically thought he would, nothing more."
As a result of the focus on Europe, traders have largely shrugged off the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a smaller than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended July 28th.
The report showed that initial jobless claims crept up to 365,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 357,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 370,000 from the 353,000 originally reported for the previous week.
After showing a lack of direction for much of the session, stocks ended Wednesday's trading mostly lower following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement. Selling pressure was relatively subdued, however, limiting the downside for the markets.
The major averages closed in negative territory, adding to the losses posted in the two previous sessions. The Dow fell 32.55 points or 0.3 percent at 12,976.13, the Nasdaq dropped 19.31 points or 0.7 percent to 2,920.21 and the S&P 500 slid 4.00 points or 0.3 percent to 1,375.32.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned lower over the course of the trading day. The French CAC 40 Index has tumbled by 1.5 percent, the German DAX Index has fallen by 1.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.6 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.46 to $88.45 a barrel after advancing $0.85 to $88.91 a barrel on Wednesday. Gold futures, which fell $7.30 to $1,607.30 an ounce in the previous session, are edging down $0.30 to $1,607 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at $1.2231 against the euro compared to yesterday's $1.2231. The greenback is currently valued at 78.23 yen compared to the 78.43 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday
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