Stock futures fluctuated on Friday morning, uncertain of how to proceed after Thursday's session snapped a five-day losing streak.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.13% on Friday, and futures for both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq fell 0.08%.
Markets have been under pressure in recent days on a multitude of concerns: crude oil has fallen to its lowest level in more than a month, a possible "Brexit" threatens economic stability in the European Union and a less-hawkish Federal Reserve spooked pessimists worried over the health of the U.S. economy.
The Fed's rate hike plans remained in the spotlight on Friday after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said a slower, more stable economy warranted fewer rate hikes. Bullard noted that low economic growth and a Fed funds rate of just 63 basis points is likely to remain through to 2018. He expects growth of just 2%, weak inflation and a low unemployment rate are likely to continue.
U.S. housing starts fell 0.3% to 1.164 million in May from 1.172 million in April, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the decline was slower than an expected dip to 1.15 million. Housing permits rose to 1.138 million.
Oracle(ORCL) - Get Report rose 2% in premarket trading after posting a mixed fourth quarter. The enterprise-software developer earned an adjusted 81 cents a share, a penny short of estimates, while revenue of $10.59 billion topped estimates of $10.46 billion. Cloud-software sales spiked 51%. Excluding currency exchange, earnings would have matched expectations.
Lumber Liquidators(LL) - Get Report roared 17% higher after announcing plans to cease sales of all Chinese-made wood. The company has been under investigation since studies found that a Chinese laminate used in some of its products posed a carcinogenic threat.
Revlon(REV) - Get Report reached an agreement to acquire fellow cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) for about $870 million. Under the terms of the deal, Revlon will pay $14 per Elizabeth Arden share, a premium of roughly 50% over Elizabeth Arden's close on Thursday. The companies expect cost synergies of $140 million through "the elimination of duplicative activities, leveraging purchasing scale and optimizing the manufacturing and distribution networks."
Viacom (VIA.B) shares were down 1.6% after news broke late Thursday that Sumner Redstone's National Amusements had ousted five directors, including CEO Phillipe Dauman from the 11-person board, and the company issued weak guidance.
Redstone's privately held company is a controlling shareholder of the media conglomerate. Redstone has been in the spotlight recently as lawyers argued over whether he is mentally competent to run media companies Viacom and CBS.
Viacom said early Friday it expects fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1 to $1.05 a share; analysts forecast $1.38 a share. Viacom said a weak third quarter was tied to the "disappointing" performance of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Infoblox (BLOX) was sightly higher in premarket trading after announcing plans to lay off 12% of workers in a cost-reduction plan. The network-software company will cut around 110 jobs and will likely incur $6.5 million in costs as part of the restructuring.
Apple(AAPL) - Get Report has been ordered to stop sales of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in Beijing. Intellectual property regulators said the iPhone models infringe upon a patent from Shezen Baili for its smartphone. A number of stores in the Chinese city have already stopped sales of Apple's 6 models.