U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday, after Wednesday's strong rally following accomodative comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and as investors were preparing for another slew of earnings reports to be released throughout the session.
Ahead of the open, the Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.25% decline, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.23% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.15% loss.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that monetary policy will need to remain accommodative for some time, citing slackness in the labor market and low inflation.
Ms. Yellen said the risks of persistently low consumer prices outweighed those of high inflation. She added that the central bank sees room for the U.S. unemployment rate to fall to between 5.2% and 5.6% by the end of 2016. The unemployment rate currently stands at 6.7%.
International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) shares plummeted 3.77% in pre-market trade after the computer maker said late Wednesday that first-quarter revenue fell 3.9% from a year earlier to $22.5 billion, missing analysts' estimates.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) also reported quarterly earnings and revenue below market' expectations after the close on Wednesday, due to weakening ad pricing. The news sent the company's shares down 3.35% in early trading.
American Express (NYSE:AXP) was also set to be in focus, as the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases posted a first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates, thanks to higher customer spending. The company's shares were down 0.57% after hours.
In the telecom sector, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) slipped 0.17% in late trading after the U.S. phone company said it reached a deal with a global automaker to add to its ranks of customers seeking connectivity in its cars.
Elsewhere, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) was slated to move after it reportedly abandonned the bidding process for the U.K.'s Channel 5. Discovery was said to have offered about £350 million for the broadcaster.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included General Electric (NYSE:GE), BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Blackstone (NYSE:BX), Dupont (DFT), Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP), Pepsico (NYSE:PEP), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW), Fifth Third (NASDAQ:FITB), AutoNation (NYSE:AN), Sonoco Products (SON), Cypress Semiconductor (CY.O), Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) and Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL), all scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 shed 0.35%, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.15%, Germany's DAX edged down 0.15%, while Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.23%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.28%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish data on initial jobless claims and a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region.