NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â" U.S. stock futures pointed Thursday to further declines on Wall Street as oil prices remained above $100 a barrel on worries about supply disruptions in Libya, while investors also reacted to a quarterly update from General Motors Co.
Stock-index futures pared their losses after economic data had the governmentâs count of Americans filing initial claims for jobless benefits declining by 22,000 to 391,000 last week.
Separate data had orders for durable goods rising 2.7% in January.
Futures /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 12,025, -69.00, -0.57%) on the Dow Jones Industrial AverageÂ were down points at 12,085, while Standard & Poorâs 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,303, -2.60, -0.20%) Â had dropped 2.8 points to 1,302.7. Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,306, +2.00, +0.09%) Â were off 1 point at 2,302.5.
Oil spikes to $100 a barrel
Crude prices are propelled by upheaval in Libya and disruptions to its crude supplies. Nymex futures rose to $100 a barrel, the contract's highest price since 2008.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks fell sharply for a second straight session as turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa continued and after Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 42.56, -1.03, -2.36%) Â offered a weaker-than-expected forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,056, -49.92, -0.41%) Â closed down 107 points after posting a triple-digit decline Tuesday.
Oil futures continued to soar on worries that Libyan exports are steadily falling and could be completely halted in the coming days. See Futures Movers for more on oil prices.
Crude for April delivery /quotes/comstock/21n!f:cl\j11 (CLJ11 97.21, -0.89, -0.91%) Â rose $2.18 to $100.28 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex, having earlier hit an intraday high of $103.41 a barrel.
âUp until now, the reaction to the situation in the Middle East has been broadly positive, with markets shrugging off news of violent protests in the hope that regime changes will be beneficial to the countries involved,â said Will Hedden, a trader at IG Index.
âThe scale of the Libyan conflict, however, and worries that unrest could spread to the oil-producing giant of Saudi Arabia have now hit home,â he added in an email.
Thursdayâs economic calendar also includes a report on new-home sales for January at 10 a.m. Eastern. See economic calendar.
Among stocks in focus Thursday, shares of Priceline.com Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!pcln/quotes/nls/pcln (PCLN 463.33, +37.34, +8.77%) Â jumped in premarket trading after the company forecast first-quarter earnings above Wall Streetâs previous expectations.
General Motors Corp. ended its seven-year losing streak, reporting an annual profit after earning $400 million in the fourth quarter. See full story on GMâs results.
Newmont Mining Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!nem/quotes/nls/nem (NEM 55.10, -4.01, -6.78%) Â was another premarket advancer, climbing after it reported fourth-quarter results.
The turmoil in Libya also continued to weigh on international markets Thursday. The U.K.âs FTSE 100 index /quotes/comstock/23i!i:ukx (UK:UKX 5,920, -3.55, -0.06%) Â dropped 0.5% in midday trading, and Japanâs Nikkei 225 Average closed down 1.2%.
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.Powered By iWebRSS.com