Stocks continued to oscillate early Thursday, as futures pointed to a pullback amid an onslaught of chain-store results. Index futures recently showed the S&P 500 trading 3 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 2-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 1/32 in price to yield 4.59% -- 11 points below the two-year note -- while the dollar was lower against the yen and euro. Despite some wide swings, U.S. stocks begin the day roughly where they began the week, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The major indices rose by 0.6% to 1% on Wednesday as semiconductor stocks led a tech rally, erasing losses run up Tuesday after Google's ( GOOG) growth fumble. Oil was higher Thursday as European diplomats prepared to meet with top Iranian officials to discuss the country's nuclear ambitions. Concerns that Iran's renascent atomic research is a prelude to weapons production has repeatedly spooked energy markets over the last two months. Recently, April crude rose 58 cents to $62.55 a barrel. Overseas markets were mostly higher, with London's FTSE 100 recently up 0.3% to 5859 and Germany's Xetra DAX adding 1.2% to 5867. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.3% to 15,910, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4% to 15,882. Investors will get further insight into the state of the U.S. consumer as the nation's department and specialty stores report sales figures for February Thursday. Among early returns, Costco ( COST) said comparable-store sales rose a better-than-expected 8% last month from a year earlier, while Joseph A. Banks ( JOSB) reported a 3.3% rise. Late Wednesday, teen favorites Aeropostale ( ARO) and Hot Topic ( HOTT) both reported lower same-store results for February, while "extreme" sports outfitter Zumiez ( ZUMZ) posted a 28% surge. Also Wednesday, homebuilder Hovnanian ( HOV) reported first-quarter earnings of $81.4 million, or $1.25 a share, about the same as a year ago. The results were a penny ahead of estimates. To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action,
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Reports in The New York Times and Financial Times Thursday say Yahoo! ( YHOO) is scaling back its ambitions in the area of Internet television. The papers quoted media chief Lloyd Braun saying the company will focus on acquiring programs from other content producers and deemphasize in-house development.