Wall Street Steady Pre-Bell

Wall Street pre-bell Thursday is flatfooted, with U.S. stock index futures pointing to an opening bell largely unchanged from Wednesday’s close, although the Nasdaq may open slightly higher. European bourses are mixed while Asian exchanges were closed on holiday, or muted.

Spain-Catalonia relations remain strained, but Spanish stocks have stabilized. Google introduced its new smartphone, named the Pixel 2, and also wireless headphones, dubbed Pixel Buds, touted as able to translate languages in real time. Oil is trading at $50.08, and 10-year U.S. Treasuries offer 2.33%.

On the economic calendar is the international trade release and the weekly jobless claims at 8:30 am ET; followed by factory orders at 10 am; and the EIA domestic natural-gas inventories bulletin at 10:30 am. Chain store sales release September data today.

For Fed-watchers, Governor Jerome Powell speaks at 9:10 am; San Francisco President John Williams at 9:15 am; and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker at 9:30 am. Also, the European Central Bank will publish minutes from its September policy meeting at 8:30 am.

Constellation Brands (STZ) and International Speedway (ISCH) report earnings pre-bell.

In Europe, the British FTSE 100 is up 0.18%, the German DAX is off 0.23%, and the French CAC 40 is down 0.07%.

In the futures, the S&P 500 is up 0.02%, the Nasdaq is up 0.07% and the Dow is up 0.01%.

Asian stock markets were muted Thursday, with Tokyo trading flat, and Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul closed on holiday. With regional markets near record highs, traders are in a holding mode and awaiting the U.S. Friday jobs report or other cues, said analysts.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 traded flat, closing up 0.01%, as traders took profits from a market near two-year highs, and took to sidelines ahead of the U.S. jobs report, and clues it might have for Federal Reserve policy.

In other news, U.S. private-equity firm Bain Capital said it plans to list Toshiba’s (TOSYY, 6502:Tokyo) chip business on the Tokyo Stock Exchange within three years, Bain recently led an $18 billion acquisition chip-manufacturing unit. Bain on Monday revealed a $1.35 billion bid for ad agency Asatsu-DK (9747:Tokyo).

Also, President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have set Nov. 6 for a summit In Tokyo. Trade and North Korea are on the agenda.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.90 to 20,628.56, although losing issues outnumbered gainers 199 to 98, making for a mixed day.

Leading the upside were frozen-foods purveyor Nippon Suisan Kaisha (NISUF, 1332:Tokyo), up 6.1%; followed by the beverage house Asahi Holdings (ASBRF, 2502:Tokyo), up 5.6%; and then Sapporo Holdings (SOOBF, 2501:Tokyo), up 4.4%.

On the downside were chemical-concern Showa Denko (SHWDY, 4004:Tokyo), off 2.8%; and then Nippon Express (NPEXY, 9062:Tokyo), off 2.7%.

On the other exchanges, the Taiwan TWSE rose 0.47%; the Australian ASX 200 declined 0.01%; the Singapore Straits Times Index gained 0.78%; and the Thai Set gained 0.18%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.47%. Indian IPOs may top $5 billion in 2017 for an annual record-high, the Business Standard reported.

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