Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2017

Stock futures sluggish; eyes on tax bill talks and General Electric

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures pointed to a dull opening on Thursday with technology stocks holding on to their modest gains as traders focus on progress in tax bill negotiations and General Electric’s job-cut plan.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

– GE (GE.N) shares rose 0.6 percent to $ 17.76 in premarket trading after the struggling industrial conglomerate said it was axing 12,000 jobs at its global power business.

– Shares of tech giants Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) were up about 0.3 percent to 0.6 percent.

– Other early movers include Broadcom (AVGO.O), which gained 5 percent after reporting upbeat profit and boosting its dividend by 72 percent, days after the chipmaker took its $ 103 billion bid for Qualcomm (QCOM.O) hostile.

– Lululemon Athletica (LULU.O) rose about 8 percent after the Canadian yoga and leisure apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday-quarter forecast.

– U.S. Senate Republicans on Wednesday agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on the tax bill on Wednesday, amid early signs that lawmakers could agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

– However, a gridlock between President Donald Trump and Congress over the passage of fresh spending legislation before Friday has raised fears of partial shut down of the federal government.

– Oil prices rose more than half a percent after dipping 2 percent on Wednesday as a fall in U.S. crude inventories was countered by soaring output and a rise in fuel stocks. [O/R]

– Data is expected to show weekly initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose to 240,000 from 238,000 in the week before. The report is due 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).

Futures snapshot at 6:51 a.m. ET:

– Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 13 points, or 0.05 percent, with 19,224 contracts changing hands.

– S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 1.5 points, or 0.06 percent, with 122,705 contracts traded.

– Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 15.75 points, or 0.25 percent, on volume of 29,337 contracts.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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