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Salesforce Stock Climbs on Outlook, Stock Futures Mixed, Eyeing Fed Summit

Inflation, jobs and GDP data could set the tone for Friday's Jackson Hole speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Thursday Market Minute

  • Global stocks ease from record highs following a rate hike in South Korea and ahead of tomorrow's Jackson Hole summit.
  • Asia stocks slide after the first Bank of Korea rate hike in 3 years, while Europe drifts on soft consumer sentiment data from Germany.
  • Treasury bond yields move higher in thin trading volume ahead of Fed Chair Powell's virtual address Friday, with 10-year notes trading at 1.357%.
  • Oil prices fall for the first day in four as traders trim bets on energy demand while tracking COVID cases in Asia and Europe.  
  • U.S. equity futures suggest a softer open on Wall Street ahead of weekly jobless claims and GDP data  at 8:30 am Eastern time and second quarter earnings from Dollar General and Dollar Tree.

U.S. equity futures traded mixed Thursday, while commodity prices eased and Treasury yields gapped higher, as investors prepare for a key reading on domestic inflation ahead of tomorrow's central bank summit in Jackson Hole.

World stocks retreated from Wednesday's record high amid a softer session in Asia that was highlighted by the first rate increase by the Bank of Korea -- a 25 basis point increase to 0.75% -- in three years, a move that could indicate global central banks are willing to roll back their extraordinary support programs in the waning months of the global pandemic. 

The decision could cast a different light on tomorrow's speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, although few are expecting him to fire the starting gun on bond purchase tapering during his virtual address at 10:00 am Eastern time. 

Data set for 8:30 am Eastern time Thursday will also be in focus, with investors parsing through a second estimate of second quarter GDP growth and weekly jobless claims. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation, the PCE price index, follows on Friday.

Weekly jobless claims, in fact, rose for the first time in five weeks to 353,000, for the period ending August 21, while the second GDP estimate pegged a growth rate of 6.6%, up from the initial forecast of 6.5%.

Wall Street futures are looking decidedly flat heading into the data series, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 35 point gain and those linked to the S&P 500 priced for a modes 4 point pullback from last night's record high close.

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Higher Treasury bond yields, as well as a weak session for China-based tech stocks following the Bank of Korea rate hike, has futures tied to the Nasdaq indicating a 25 point decline.

In terms of individual stocks, Salesforce.com  (CRM) - Get salesforce.com, inc. Report shares jumped 3.4% to $269.60 each after the business software and cloud computing group topped Street forecasts in it second quarter earnings report

Williams-Sonoma  (WSM) - Get Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Report shares, meanwhile, surged 16.3% in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $198.50 after the West Elm and Pottery Barn owner blasted Street earnings forecasts and approved a $1.25 billion share buyback plan. 

Oil prices fell for the first day in four, despite data from the Energy Department Wednesday showing another decline in domestic crude stocks, as investors trimmed bets on energy demand amid the ongoing rise in coronavirus infections in major economies around the world.

WTI futures contracts for October delivery were marked 73 cents lower at $67.63 per barrel while Brent contracts for the same month slipped 69 cents to $71.55 per barrel.

In overseas markets, European stocks eased after a softer-than-expected reading of German consumer sentiment added to near-term uncertainty in the region's biggest economy amid a rise in Delta-variant infections and next month's national elections. 

The Stoxx 600 was marked 0.4% lower in the opening hours of trading, while Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.39% in London.

Overnight in Asia, a pullback in China tech stocks dragged, as well as the Bank of Korea rate hike, dragged the MSCI ex-Japan index 0.64% lower heading into the final hours of trading, while the Nikkei 225 closed 0.06% higher at 27,742.29 points in Tokyo.