Futures for U.S. exchanges were down late Thursday after a two-day losing streak on Wall Street as investors await a Friday signal from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen about a much-expected rate increase.
Futures for the S&P 500 were off 0.02%, the Nasdaq 0.06% and the Dow Jones Industrials 0.04% at 9:15 p.m. EDT.
Yellen will speak Thursday during an annual meeting of central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Investors are hoping she will give some indication of when the Fed is likely to raise rates, with most thinking December is likeliest.
However, central bankers including Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan have indicated as recent as Thursday that strong economic indicators may mean a September rate rise could be in the cards.
The wait for Yellen's speech gave U.S. indices their first two-day slide in nearly two months. The S&P ended Thursday 0.14% lower with the Nasdaq losing 0.11%. The Dow pared 0.18%.
Europe also had an off day with Germany's Dax falling 0.88%, London's FTSE 0.28% and France's Cac 0.65%.
Hoping to break the trend, Asia opened mixed despite figures showing Japanese consumer prices fell in July. The slipping prices cast doubt on a raft of stimuli announced there this summer. That country's benchmark index, the Nikkei, slipped 0.9%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.63%. In South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.59% at 9:36 p.m. EDT.
Over in currencies, the pound tried to regain some of the ground it lost Thursday, trading 0.09% higher in Asia trade at $1.3198, while the yen slipped 0.041% to ¥100.497, holding above the psychological ¥100 barrier at 9:38 p.m. EDT.
Oil, the week's second-biggest influence on markets, slipped slightly as Asia awoke. Industry standard Brent crude was off 0.18% at $49.58 per barrel. West Texas oil pared 0.08%, to $47.29, per barrel. The prices were current as of 9:27 p.m. EDT and reflect futures for October delivery.
In after-hours trading, shares of video game retailer GameStop(GME) - Get Report fell 7.8%, to $29.65, after its second-quarter revenue, released after the close of trade, disappointed. The Grapevine, Texas-based company said sales in the past quarter fell 7.4%, to $1.63 billion, below expectations of $1.72 billion.
Still, it said it expects third-quarter earnings per share of 53 cents to 58 cents, essentially above analyst forecasts of 53 cents. The company is suffering as computer and console games switch to online game delivery rather than over-the-counter cartridges and software.