U.S. index futures fell in late pre-market trading Thursday morning following sharp gains Wednesday after stronger-than-expected economic reports and a more proactive role by President Bush in fighting the subprime crisis soothed nervous investors. Wednesday's ADP employment estimate saw November private payrolls up 189,000, sparking speculation Friday's non-farm payroll number may exceed economist estimates of 70,000 new jobs (full story). President Bush will most likely announce a plan Thursday to freeze all adjustable-rate mortgages [ARMs] for a five-year period (full story).
The Bank of England's [BoE] decision to cut its key rate by 25 bps was somewhat of a surprise to economists, the majority of whom were expecting the BoE to hold rates steady (full story). The European Central Bank [ECB] did not follow the BoE's lead, holding its key rate steady at 4% (full story). The yuan fell the most against the dollar since its peg to the dollar was lifted in July 2005 (full story).
Costco (NASDAQ:COST) November same-store-sales [SSS] jumped 9%, beating estimates (full story). Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) saw November comps rise 1.9%, topping consensus estimates for a 1.2% rise. Macy's (NYSE:M) comps jumped 13.4%, vs. analyst expectations for an 8.2% rise, but the firm projected a December SSS decline of 4% to 7%. November Same-Store Sales Roundup: Mixed Bag
U.S. weekly initial jobless claims fell by 15,000, but the four-week average edged up slightly to 340,250.