Stock Futures Slump as Cisco, Wal-Mart Tumble

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were slumping Thursday alongside many international markets as investors digested a host of economic data that overall pointed to an improving economy and raised the risk that the Federal Reserve will be tapering asset purchases soon. Coinciding with the releases though was the reiteration by St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard that more data needs to be seen before any conclusion on tapering can be drawn.

Cisco ( CSCO) shares were plunging 8.48% to $24.14 in premarket trading after the networking giant announced job cuts that will affect 4,000 employees, or 5% of its global workforce.

Wal-Mart ( WMT) shares were slipping 2.33% to $74.62 after the retail giant slashed its full-year guidance explaining that the retail environment remains challenging in the both U.S. and international markets.

Futures for the S&P 500 were off 13 points, or 13.49 points below fair value, to 1,669. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 114 points, or 112.66 points below fair value, to 15,190. Futures for the Nasdaq were behind by 29.75 points, or 35 points below fair value, to 3,093.5.

NetApp ( NTAP) shares were also down, falling 3.05% to $41.04 after the lower end of the data storage company's fiscal second quarter earnings and revenue guidance ranges disappointed analysts.

PulteGroup ( PHM) was falling 1.65% to $14.86 after the homebuilder was cut to "outperform" from "top pick" by analysts at RBC Capital.

St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard, who has made numerous appearances this week, reiterated during a speech at a Thursday Fed event sponsored by the Bank's Louisville, Ky. branch that the the Fed "still needs to see more data on macroeconomic performance for the second half of 2013 before making a judgment" on the alteration of the pace of the central bank's asset purchases.

Initial jobless claims in the week ended Aug. 10 fell 15,000 to a lower-than-expected 320,000, the lowest level since late 2007, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting jobless claims of 335,000. The four-week moving average was 332,000, a decrease of 4,000.

Continuing claims in the week ended Aug. 3 was a lower-than-predicted 2.969 million, down 54,000 from the prior week. Continuing claims of 3 million were expected.

The consumer price index rose 0.2% in July, as expected, after increasing 0.5% in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs increased 0.2%, also in line with expectations, after increasing 0.2% the prior month.

The Empire State manufacturing index fell to 8.2 in August from 9.46 in July. A rise to 10 in August was expected.

At 9:15 a.m., the Federal Reserve is expected to report that industrial production rose 0.3% in July after increasing 0.3% in June. The report is also predicted to show that capacity utilization ticked up to 77.9% from 77.8% in June.

Then at 10 a.m., the general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook is forecast to have declined to 15 in August from 19.8 in July.

Simultaneously, the National Association of Home Builders' housing market index is expected to fall to 56 in August from 57 in July.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was shedding 4/32, bolstering the yield to 2.733%. The dollar was down 0.2% to $81.55 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.47%, while the DAX in Germany was sliding 0.48%.The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed down 0.01% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan settled behind by 2.12%.

December gold futures were tacking on $3.70 to $1,337.10 an ounce and September light sweet crude oil futures were rising 97 cents to $107.82 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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