Posted: Aug 30, 2012 6:45 AM by CNNMoney staff
Updated: Aug 30, 2012 7:09 AM
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set to open lower Thursday as investors remain skeptical as to whether central banks will offer further stimulus measures.
U.S. stock futures hovered in the red.
Many investors have been holding off on making any big bets before Friday, when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Observers will be looking for hints from Bernanke about the possibility of new stimulus measures.
Europe is once again in focus following an auction of 5- and 10-year Italian bonds Thursday morning. Italy's borrowing costs fell, signaling that investors are more confident that the European Central Bank will stage a major intervention in the bond market. An op-ed by ECB president Mario Draghi published Wednesday helped solidify that optimism, as he reiterated that "exceptional measures" are justified to stabilize financial markets.
Meanwhile, India is due to release its second-quarter GDP data, offering investors a window into the pace of economic growth in the world's second-most populous nation.
Energy markets will also be in focus, with Hurricane Isaac curtailing oil production along the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. stocks ended with slim gains Wednesday, as many investors remain sidelined or on vacation.
World Markets: European stocks slid in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.2%, the DAX in Germany fell 0.8% and France's CAC 40 edged lower 0.1%.
Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite was flat, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.2%, and Japan's Nikkei fell 1%.
Economy: The Labor Department will release data on initial jobless claims for the week ended August 25 at 8:30 a.m. ET. Claims are expected to total 370,000, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com, down from 372,000 in the week prior.
Also before the bell, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release data on personal income and spending for July. Personal spending is expected to have increased by 0.5%, while personal income is expected to have risen by 0.3%.
Companies: Barclays named Antony Jenkins as the bank's new chief executive Thursday morning. Jenkins currently leads Barclays retail and business banking business. Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond resigned in July amid a scandal over the manipulation of Libor rates. Shares of the bank were lower in premarket trading.
Pandora shares jumped 8% after hours, as the music streaming service said it broke even in its most recent quarter rather than posting a loss as analysts had expected.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar lost ground against the euro and the Japanese yen, but edged higher versus the British pound.
Oil for October delivery fell 22 cents to $95.62 a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery edged lower $6.70 to $1,663 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.65% from 1.63% late Wednesday.