Stock market sags as investors look ahead to Fed speakers, economic reports – MarketWatch

U.S. stocks on Thursday looked set to open slightly lower and the Nasdaq Composite was on track to snap a series of gains, as the market searched for an early spark.

On tap for later in the session were a handful of Federal Reserve speakers, as well as the latest weekly jobless claims and a third revision of gross domestic product—the official scorecard for the U.S. economy.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMM7, -0.03% fell 27 points to 20,574, while S&P 500 index futures ESM7, -0.06%  eased 3 points to 2,354. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM7, -0.06% dipped 4.75 points, or 0.1%, at 5,431.25.

Wall Street stocks have largely recovered from the selloff that followed Republican leaders’ failure to push through a health-care bill, which dented investor confidence in President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on his market-friendly growth agenda. But “the clock is certainly ticking here” as lawmakers must agree on U.S. budget plans by the end of April, said Tony Cross, market analyst at TopTradr.

“Valuations remain inflated, and there’s plenty of profits to be taken, so any hint that either the tax reform won’t be passed or that the government will run into a deadlock over the budget has the potential again to lead a reversion here,” he added in his note to clients.

Wednesday’s session saw the Nasdaq COMP, +0.38%  close 0.4% higher at 5,987.55, a fourth-straight gain. The Dow industrials DJIA, -0.20%  ended down 0.2% to 20,659.32, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.11%  eked out a 0.1% gain to 2,361.13.

Cross said equities have demonstrated resilience, repeatedly bouncing back from potential setbacks.

Read: Here’s what would happen during a government shutdown

Fed speakers: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will speak on payment-system improvements to the Chicago Fed’s annual risk conference at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time. Then San Francisco Fed President John Williams will appear on a panel discussion at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York at 11:15 a.m. Eastern.

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will appear in a moderated question-and-answer session at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Economic data: A reading on weekly jobless claims and a revision to fourth-quarter gross domestic product, both due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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Stock movers: Cenovus Energy Inc. CVE, +0.85%  shares fell nearly 10% in premarket trading, after ConocoPhillips COP, +1.26%  said it would sell the majority its Canadian oil-sands assets to the oil company. ConocoPhillips shares were up 7%.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, +4.11%  shares were on track to open at the lowest level since January 2016, with shares off 19% and several analysts cutting price-targets on the retailer, which forecast lower profit and sales in the first quarter and missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.22%  shares could merit watching after they closed at a record high for the second straight day and sixth time for the month of March on Wednesday.

Read: Tesla now lets you doodle in your car

Other markets: European stocks SXXP, +0.17%  were largely flat, but Germany’s DAX DAX, +0.05%  was on track for its highest close since April 2015. In Asia ADOW, -0.04% equities mostly fell across the board, with the Nikkei 225 index NIK, -0.80%  closing 0.8% lower.

Gold prices GCJ7, -0.48%  fell modestly, while oil prices CLK7, +0.75%  also slipped.

The euro EURUSD, -0.3808%  extended its losses against the dollar, after a Reuters report that European Central Bank policy makers want to tamp down expectations for their policy announcement in April.

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