Futures Drift Lower Ahead of Yellen's Testimony; ECB, BOE Leave Rate Unchanged

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Stock futures were treading water before Yellen's Senate testimony with the major indices all slightly lower into the open. Despite a better than expected read on initial jobless claims, the data failed to generate any reaction in the financial markets given the impact from seasonal influences. Instead, futures are more defensive after yesterday's action left both the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 flirting with their record high levels. In addition, geo-political influences are again creeping into U.S. markets after reports emerged of continued mobilization of Russian troops to the Ukraine border.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 3 fell 26,000 from the prior week to 319,000, well below estimates for a 14,000 decline to 330,000. But analysts were quick to raise the issue of the Easter holiday's influence as well as the impact from spring break which allows certain school employees to file claims.

Later this morning, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Budget Committee and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will be speaking at a household finance conference this afternoon.

European equities were also mixed as overseas markets reacted to the decision by both the Bank of England and European Central Bank to leave their key lending rates unchanged. Although the decision by the BOE was expected, there was some speculation that the ECB might address lingering deflationary pressure with either a small reduction in short-term rates, or introduce unconventional stimulus measures. Later this morning, Draghi will comment on the central bank's decision.

-Dow Jones Industrial down 0.04%

-S&P 500 futures down 0.25%

-Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.44%

SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 0.93%

Hang Seng up 0.42%

Shanghai Composite up 0.26%

FTSE-100 up 0.35%

DAX-30 down 0.03%

PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH

(-) Large cap tech: lower

(-) Chip stocks: lower

(-) Software stocks: lower

(-) Hardware stocks: lower

(-) Internet stocks: lower

(-) Drug stocks: lower

(+/-) Financial stocks: mixed

(-) Retail stocks: lower

(-) Industrial stocks: lower

(+) Airlines: higher

(+/-) Autos mixed

UPSIDE MOVERS:

(+) JASO (+5.58%) Beat earning estimates

(+) SCTY(+7.40%) Reported better than expected earnings and revenue

(+) WEN (+2.52%) Beat earnings estimates by $0.02

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) CCCR (-10.71%) Secondary sale of stock

(-) MCP (-13.85%) reported a Q1 net loss greater than expected and as revenue fell short

(-) TSLA (-10.11%) Disappointing Q2 outlook, higher R&D expenses



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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