U.S. stock index futures were continuing their retreat Thursday morning following Wednesday's session decline, as markets appear to be on their way to breaking a five-week winning streak.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq futures were all down 0.5% Thursday morning. Yesterday, the Nasdaq led the way down, falling 1.1% on the day.
Putting negative pressure on the markets today was James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a voting member on the Fed's policy-setting committee, as he suggested that the Federal Reserve's next rate hike may not be far off if the economy continues to recover as expected.
"You get another strong jobs report, it looks like labor markets are improving, you could probably make a case for moving in April," Bullard told Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday.
The weekly jobless claims numbers were released at 8:30 a.m. EST. Weekly jobless claims held flat at 265,000 for the week ended March 19, better than the 268,000 job consensus analysts were expecting.
Oil prices are also continuing their decline Thursday, with industry standard Brent crude for May delivery falling $0.87 to $39.60 per barrel and West Texas crude contracts declining $0.91 to $38.88 per barrel.
Yahoo! (YHOO) shares were climbing premarket after Starboard Value, one of its largest shareholders, said that it is nominating nine candidates for election to the company's board of directors. "The board and management have continually failed to live up to their own promises and shouldn't be trusted with the decision on whether Yahoo should remain an independent company," Starboard said in a press release today.
PVH (PVH) spiked after-hours Wednesday following the release of the company's latest earnings results. The retailer, whose portfolio includes Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, topped analysts' EPS estimates, earnings $1.52 on revenue of $2.1 billion. Analysts on average were expecting the company to report earnings of $1.45 per share on revenue of $2 billion.
KB Home (KBH) also rose sharply after-hours Wednesday after the homebuilder reported adjusted earnings of $0.14 per share on revenue of $675.5 million. Net order value during the period rose 9%, more than double analysts' expected 3.9% growth estimates.
Jim Cramer wrote this morning that the home builder's results might determine the Fed to go ahead with four interest rate hikes this year, which would be a mistake.
Sports apparel retailer Finish Line (FINL) topped analyst estimates, reporting a quarterly profit of $0.83 per share vs. the consensus $0.80 per share expectations.
Government defense systems contractor Raytheon (RTN) announced that it raised its quarterly dividend by 9.3%, raising its annualized payout to $2.93 per share from $2.68 per share.