Stocks Edge Lower as Investors Look Ahead to Inflation Data—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average looked set to open down 0.3%.

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U.S. markets were heading for a pause Thursday after closing higher the day before on a bout of optimism triggered by some positive news about the efficiency of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine on the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Investors were also looking ahead to data on U.S. jobless claims later on Thursday and U.S. inflation data set to be released on Friday.

Meanwhile, European markets increased slightly after Asia had followed the U.S. trend upward, with the noted exception of Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, down 0.5% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average looked set to open down 0.3% to 35,636, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite both falling by similar proportions to 4,684 and 16,333, respectively.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.15% in morning trading, illustrating the moderate rise or stability of most major European bourses.

Oil prices were broadly stable with Brent crude down 0.6% to 75.38 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate falling 0.4% to $72.07 a barrel.

Here are three stocks on the move Thursday morning:

Fitch Ratings downgraded China Evergrande Group to “restricted default” Thursday after failing to get an answer from the embattled developer on whether or not it had repaid debt due on Dec. 6. In the absence of a response, Fitch said it was “assuming” Evergrande had defaulted on the coupon payments, for a total of $1.23 billion.

Evergrande (HK:3333) stock had closed up 4% in Hong Kong.

Amazon (AMZN) was fined €1.13 billion ($1.28 billion) by Italy’s competition authority for alleged abuse of market dominance, in one of the largest penalties ever inflicted on a U.S. tech giant by a European watchdog. The U.S. online retailer said it would appeal the ruling.

Amazon was down 0.4% in premarket trading Thursday.

Meme-stock darling GameStop (GME) was falling 4% in premarket trading, after reporting widening losses in the latest quarter and refusing to provide formal financial targets.

Write to Pierre Briançon at pierre.briancon@dowjones.com