U.S. stock futures were showing no indication of a recovery from Wednesday’s losses, as negative investor sentiment from around the world was amplified by underwhelming economic reports. Weekly initial unemployment claims increased 5.8 percent, while the flash reading for the eurozone composite PMI showed an unexpected decline.
Futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: -0.08%, S&P 500: -0.12%, NASDAQ: -0.27%.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) wobbled to pre-market gains of about 1.5 percent after reporting fourth-quarter and full-year 2013 results that were about as good as anyone could hope for. Fourth-quarter earnings growth of 10.6 percent to $1.67 per share beat estimates by 10 cents, while consolidated net sales grew 5 percent for the year. The bad news is that concerns raised last week about the effect of the payroll tax holiday on first-quarter fiscal 2014 sales were manifested in the company’s guidance for earnings between $1.11 and $1.16 per share.
Chesapeake Energy Corp (NYSE:CHK) also received some investor love after its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 report. Shares were up about 1.8 percent after the company reported adjusted fourth-quarter net income of $0.26 per share, ahead of estimates for $0.14 per share. Costs were lower than expected, but full-year losses still came to $1.46 per share.