U.S. stock market index futures were little changed Thursday as traders assess retail sales data that pointed to a strong U.S. economy. Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 48 points, or 0.14%. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.25% and Nasdaq-100 futures fell 0.30%. Earnings beats sent some shares higher – Roku surged 12% in premarket trading, Cisco added nearly 3% and Hasbro ticked 1% higher. Stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday even after a stronger-than-expected January retail sales report suggested the Federal Reserve may have further to go in its efforts to tame inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.78 points, or 0.11%, and the S&P 500 climbed 0.28%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite notched its third straight day of gains, rising 0.92%. For some market observers, that suggested stocks could have more room to run from here — even after their strong start to the year. “It looks like this rally does have some legs, and you can’t fight some of the tape right now,” Victoria Greene, chief investment officer at G Squared Private Wealth, said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “The Fed is saying that they’re going to be hawkish, but the technicals are saying this rally is in, and I really don’t think we’re going to retest those October lows anymore, because we’ve hit some really important technical supports,” Greene said. Wall Street is expecting further economic insight from a slew of reports Thursday. For starters, another inflation gauge will be out in the morning, the January producer price index. Dow Jones estimates are calling for a rise of 0.4%, compared to December’s decline of 0.5%. Weekly jobless claims data, as well as January’s housing starts report, are also due Thursday. Asia Pacific markets traded largely higher on Thursday as investors digested Japan’s record trade deficit of 3.5 trillion yen ($26 billion) – according to Refinitiv data. Investors also digested a stronger than expected U.S. retail sales report from Wall Street. South Korea’s Kospi closed 1.96% higher at 2.475.48, with the Kosdaq rising 2.51% to 784.71. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.71% to close at 27,696.4 and the Topix inched up 0.68% to end the day at 2,001.09. The Japanese yen also slightly strengthened following the trade release. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.79% higher at 7,410.3, as unemployment figures for January came in higher than economists expected In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component lost 1.3% to end its session at 11,907.4, and the Shanghai Composite also fell 0.96% to close at 3,249.03. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index erased some of its earlier gains and last traded 0.9% higher, with the Hang Seng Tech index rising 1.95%. Oil prices edged lower on Thursday after a large build in U.S. crude inventories but continued to trade in a narrow range as hopes for a Chinese demand recovery remained in focus. Brent crude futures fell 36 cents, or 0.42%, to $85.02 a barrel by 1042 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 29 cents, or 0.37%, at $78.30. Gold prices edged higher on Thursday due to a slight pullback in the dollar and bond yields, although gains were kept in check by evidence of a resilient U.S. economy that could offer room for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further. Spot gold ticked 0.1% higher to $1,838.11 per ounce, after hitting its lowest level since early January on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,847.60.
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