NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were plunging Thursday as investors digested worries over the European markets and awaited a heavy dose of earnings reports, with 419 companies set to announce results today.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) were sinking by 110 points, or 102.36 points below fair value, to 16,711. S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures were declining 13.25 points, or 12.47 points below fair value, to 1,951.75. Nasdaq (QQQ) futures were retreating by 28.2 points, or 28.27 points below fair value, to 3,940.3.
U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average down, the S&P 500 flat, and the Nasdaq up -- as the Federal Reserve maintained its federal funds rate and cut monthly bond buying by $10 billion to $25 billion, both moves largely anticipated by Wall Street.
Earlier upbeat sentiment regarding an above-consensus rebound GDP figures quickly turned sour as it spurred anxiety that this would encourage the Fed to expedite its rate-tightening schedule. This cautiousness was dissipated by the subsequent FOMC statement, which implied that even though the Fed acknowledges the improvement in the economy and job market, rate hikes will remain a ways off and are not likely begin before the second quarter of 2015, noted Sam Stovall, managing director of U.S. equity strategy at S&P Capital IQ.
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan says that a big, much-awaited pullback is coming after numerous false starts. Greenspan told Bloomberg Television's Betty Liu on Wednesday that equity markets will see a decline at some point, after surging for the past several years.
"The stock market has recovered so sharply for so long, you have to assume somewhere along the line we will get a significant correction," said Greenspan.
European stock indices fell on Thursday amid a plethora of earnings reports as eurozone consumer price figures suggested aggressive central bank tactics haven't shaken off the specter of deflation.
European Commission statistics showed the July annual inflation rate in the eurozone was 0.4%, down from 0.5% and below consensus expectations.
In Lisbon, Banco Espirito Santo (BKESY) shares plunged more than 40% as trading resumed after it reported a bigger-than-expected loss of €3.6 billion ($4.8 billion) and fired the starting gun on an emergency capital raising after a key measure of the bank's financial strength fell below the regulatory minimum. Banco Espirito Santo said it might sell its international businesses.
BNP Paribas (BNPQY) investors revealed a record €4.32 billion ($5.8 billion) quarterly loss because of the French bank's mammoth $9 billion fine for breaking U.S. sanctions.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.16% to 15,620.77. Games console maker Nintendo (NTDOY) closed down 6.5% after reporting a quarterly loss. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed up 0.10% at 24,756.85.
Before the bell, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 302,000 in the week of July 26. But the broader indicator of joblessness trends, the four week claims average, fell to 297,250, the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2006.
The July Chicago PMI is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. ahead of the July U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.