US pre-open: Stocks seen higher ahead of GDP data
US stocks looked set for a mostly higher open on Thursday as investors eyed the latest GDP reading.
At 1210 GMT, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were flat, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively.
James Harte, market analyst at TickMill Group, said: "Looking ahead to today’s US session, the key events will be the release of advanced US GDP for Q4. The data is drawing a great deal of attention ahead of the first FOMC meeting of the year next week and should we see any surprise in the release, volatility can be expected across financial markets today.
"In terms of numbers, the market is looking for GDP growth of 2.6%. While down from the prior month’s 3. 2% reading, a print in this region should be relatively encouraging for risk sentiment. Such a reading would be broadly in line with the view that the US is at risk of a mild recession later this year. If data is in line with forecasts, movement is likely to be limited with traders instead preferring to wait for the Fed next week."
The figures are due out at 1330 GMT, along with initial jobless claims.
Harte added that if there is any upside surprise, this will likely be taken as a very encouraging sign by stock traders, helping lift risk sentiment across the board.
"The Fed is widely expected to opt for a slower pace of tightening next week and so a higher USD looks unlikely to be the outcome. However, should data surprise to the downside, we can expect USD to strengthen via safe-haven demand with stocks likely to be lower across the board," he said.
On the corporate front, Tesla shares surged in pre-market trade after the electric car maker posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
American Airlines was also likely to gain at the open after it reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profits.
JetBlue and Comcast were also among those reporting.