Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday, as investors eyed upcoming U.S. economic reports, after recent U.S. housing sector data added to expectations for a near-term end to the Federal Reserve's stimulus program.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.52% drop, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.64% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.57% retreat.
U.S. equities weakened after official data on Wednesday showed that U.S. new home sales jumped to a five-year high in June, boosting expectations that the Fed will start to scale back its bond buying program later this year.
The Commerce Department said U.S. new home sales jumped 8.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000 units, the highest level since May 2008.
In the tech sector, Dell was expected to remain in focus after founder Michael Dell and financial ally Silver Lake Management on Wednesday said they would raise their bid by a dime to USD13.75 per share if the company's special committee agreed to change the rules so that nonvoters wouldn't count as opposing the deal.
Dell shares dropped 0.50% in after-hour trade.
Apple slid 0.34% in extended trading as investors locked in gains after shares surged over 5% on Wednesday. The tech giant reported quarterly results that topped estimates and announced that iPhone sales grew more than expected, helping to offset weak iPad sales.
Elsewhere among earnings, Facebook said after the closing bell on Wednesday that surging demand for mobile advertising helped profit and revenue top analysts' estimates in the second quarter, sending shares up 17.20% in early trading.
Qualcomm shares surged 1.97% pre-market, after the largest seller of semiconductors for mobile phones forecast fiscal fourth-quarter sales that may exceed analysts' estimates, helped by growing smartphone demand in emerging markets.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included GM, 3M, Colgate-Palmolive, Amazon.com, Gilead Sciences, Starbucks, Zynga, all scheduled to post results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were sharply lower. The EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 0.99%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.91%, Germany's DAX plummeted 1.17%, while Britain's FTSE 100 retreated 1.07%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.31%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plummeted 1.35%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce data on initial jobless claims and durable goods orders.
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