U.S. stock index futures were little changed Thursday on a lower-than-expected wholesale inflation report and earnings from Disney. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 134 points, or 0.4%. Nasdaq-100 futures advanced 0.2% while S&P 500 futures ticked down 0.1%. The producer price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge that measures wholesale prices, increased just 0.2% in April. Economists polled by Dow Jones estimated PPI advanced 0.3% last month. The PPI data follows the consumer price index report from Wednesday, which showed inflation rose 4.9% year-over-year, below expectations. Initial jobless claims grew by 22,000 for the week ending May 6 to 264,000, the Department of Labor said on Thursday. The latest jobless data was the highest reading since Oct. 30, 2021. Disney shares fell more than 5% after the media giant released its fiscal second-quarter results. While higher prices helped its streaming division to narrow its losses, it dealt a harsh blow to subscriber growth. The company also announced it would take on impairment charges of $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion as it removes more content from its streaming platforms. “This is rebalancing and getting more efficient as they curate content. This is big news,” Ken Leon, CFRA Research’s director of equity research said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “It’s essentially saying, ’We’re not putting everything into the future direct streaming, and we’re also going to look at where we can get the best returns that drive free cash flow,” Leon continued. Futures cut their gains as worries about regional banks flared up again. PacWest Bancorp, the latest troubled bank in focus, said Thursday in a 10Q filing that deposits fell 9.5% last week. PacWest shares dropped another 22% in premarket trading. PacWest added that the bank has access to $15 billion in immediate liquidity, if needed. Wall Street is coming off a mixed session, with the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 rising 1% and 0.5%, respectively, on Wednesday. The Dow, meanwhile, closed marginally lower. Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed after Wall Street saw a tech rally as U.S. consumer price index rose less than expected for April. Investors in Asia will be closely watching the inflation print from China for April, which came in slower than expected at 0.1%, compared to the 0.4% forecasted in a Reuters poll. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed little changed, slipping 0.05% to 19,751.40, while the Hang Seng Tech index gained 1.43%, closing at 3,866.25. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.29% to close at 3,309.55, and the Shenzhen Component advanced marginally to finish at 11,142.53. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 traded up marginally and ended the day at 29,126.72 , while the Topix saw a 0.14% decline to finish at 2,083.09. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.22% lower at 2,491, and the Kosdaq saw a larger loss of 0.63% to end at 824.54. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 sunk 0.08% to close at 7,249.6. Oil prices erased earlier gains on Thursday during U.S. trading hours as a political standoff about the U.S. debt ceiling overshadowed a G7 finance leaders’ meeting, raising jitters about a possible recession in the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent crude last fell 43 cents, or 0.56%, to $75.98 a barrel while U.S. crude futures shed 45 cents, down 0.62%, to $72.11. Both contracts were on track for their first weekly percentage gain in four. Gold prices turned higher on Thursday, erasing losses earlier in the trading session, but prospects of a pause in the U.S. Federal Reserves’ rate-hike cycle and economic worries added luster to safe-haven bullion’s outlook. Spot gold last edged 0.33% higher to $2,036.29 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures gained 0.26% to $2,042.30.
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