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U.S. stock futures mixed ahead of data; banks support gains

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Wall Street futures pointed to a mixed open on Thursday as banks supported gains, while investors looked ahead to economic data out later in the session.

The blue-chip Dow futures inched up 13 points, or 0.06%, at 6:58AM ET (10:58GMT), the S&P 500 futures edged forward 2 points, or 0.08%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures lost 15 points, or 0.25%.

For the first time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve (Fed) did not object to any of the capital plans of the 34 banks it reviewed in the second part of the annual stress tests implemented in the wake of the financial crisis.

Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) was the one bank that will be required to resubmit its plan by year-end, but even its scheme was conditionally approved.

In the wake of Wednesday's announcement, several big Wall Street banks announced significant increases in their plans to return capital to shareholders after getting the green light from the U.S. central bank.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) saw gains of nearly 3% in pre-market action after doubling its quarterly dividend to 32 cents per common share and announcing a common stock repurchase program of up to $15.6 billion late on Wednesday.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) also rallied close to 3% after announcing plans to increase its quarterly common stock dividend to 12 cents a share, a 60% increase, beginning in the third quarter of 2017. The bank's board also authorized a $12 billion repurchase in common stock from July 1 through June 30, 2018.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) was up around 2% after saying it would raise its quarterly dividend by 6 cents to 56 cents a share, effective the third quarter of 2017. The financial giant also said it has authorized share buybacks of up to $19.4 billion between July 1 and June 30 next year.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) were all registering solid gains in pre-market trade ahead of the opening bell.

On the economic front, investors will focus Thursday on key data out at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT).

Apart from gauging the continuing strength of the labor market with weekly jobless claims, markets will also keep an eye on a final reading of U.S. first-quarter economic growth for further indications on the health of the world's biggest economy.

Ahead of the data, strength in major currency rivals pushed the dollar to its lowest level since October.

The euro and pound extended strong gains from the prior session to reach new highs as investors priced in tighter monetary policy in Europe, following comments made by key central bank officials.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.3% at 95.49. It fell to its lowest since October 3 at 95.43 earlier.

St. Louis Fed president James Bullard was scheduled to give a presentation on the U.S. monetary policy and the economy at 1:00PM ET (17:00GMT).

Meanwhile, oil prices extended gains into a sixth session to hit the strongest level in two weeks after U.S. government data revealed the biggest weekly decline in domestic crude production in almost a year.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed that total domestic crude production fell by 100,000 barrels a day to 9.25 million barrels, the biggest decline in weekly output since July 2016.

U.S. crude futures gained 0.94% to $45.16 by 7:02AM ET (11:02GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.86% to $47.95.

Elsewhere, European equities were mostly lower on Thursday with the benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 falling 0.37% by 7:02AM ET (11:02GMT), Germany's DAX gave up 0.27% and France's CAC 40 traded down 0.70%

London's commodity-heavy FTSE 100 broke the general rule, logging gains of 0.24% led by the financial sector with support from mining stocks.

Earlier, Asian shares ended mostly in positive territory, with finance stocks broadly leading gains. Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.45%, while the Shanghai Composite finished 0.47% higher.

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

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