Stock futures pared losses on Thursday after the U.S. economy grew at a slightly faster pace than anticipated over the last three months of 2016.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.1%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slid 0.1%, and Nasdaq futures fell 0.07%. Losses were slightly steeper earlier in the day.
The U.S. economy grew at a pace of 2.1% from October to December, up from a previous estimate of 1.9%, according to the third and final estimate of fourth-quarter GDP. Analysts anticipated the measure to tick up to 2% growth over the period, the final full quarter under President Barack Obama's administration. Consumer spending increased to 3.5% from a previous estimate of 3%. Adjusted pretax corporate profits increased 0.5%.
The Dow closed out lower on Wednesday for its ninth session in 10, dragged down by another retreat in financial stocks. The blue-chip index ended an eight-session losing streak on Tuesday with a triple-digit gain, clawing back from some of the heavy losses seen over the past week. The Dow hasn't had nine consecutive losses since the late 1970s. Stocks have been under pressure as Wall Street contemplated the way forward for the Trump White House after its defeat on health care reform.
Crude oil prices backed off of three-week highs reached on Wednesday. The commodity rallied a day earlier after a weekly reading on domestic inventories showed a smaller-than-expected rise. Production disruptions in Libya also gave rise to crude prices.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 0.2% to $49.42 a barrel on Thursday morning.
Weekly jobless claims held near multi-year lows for another week. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 to 258,000. The less-volatile four-week claims average rose by 7,750 to 254,250.
Lululemon Athletica (LULU) - Get Report slumped nearly 20% in premarket trading after issuing a weak outlook for the first quarter. The athletic apparel brand anticipates first-quarter revenue no higher than $515 million and earnings between 25 cents to 27 cents a share. Analysts anticipated earnings of 39 cents a share on sales of $552 million. Fourth-quarter earnings also missed estimates.
VF Corp. (VFC) - Get Report moved slightly higher on Thursday after detailing its plans over the next five years, including returning $8 billion to shareholders. The parent of Timberland said it planned to refocus on a consumer and retail model and increase its direct-to-consumer business. Revenue is expected to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate of 4% to 6% over the period through to 2021.
Exar (EXAR) was slightly lower in premarket trading after being downgraded to hold from buy at Stifel Nicolaus. The semiconductor developer rocketed higher on Wednesday after agreeing to be bought by MaxLinear (MXL) - Get Report for roughly $661.6 million in an all-cash deal. MaxLinear offered $13 a share for Exar, a 22% premium to its close on Tuesday. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report added more than 7% after securing a deal to sell its interest in its oil sands assets to Cenovus Energy (CVE) - Get Report . As part of the deal, Cenovus will acquire ConocoPhillips' 50% stake for $17.7 billion in a part-cash, part-share deal. The acquisition is expected to close over the second quarter. Cowen analysts said this "unexpected big deal" would be viewed positively by shareholders.
Aeterna Zentaris (AEZS) - Get Report rose 10% in premarket trading after announcing plans to file a new drug application for its growth hormone deficiency treatment. The drugmaker met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday and said that the company is "now one important step closer to the commercialization of Macrilen in the U.S., providing a much needed new option and alternative to the ITT (insulin tolerance test)."