By Caitlin Ostroff
U.S. stock futures edged lower Thursday as a rebound in technology shares paused and investors braced for the possibility of more market volatility.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 slid 0.5% and those linked to the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.2%, indicating markets were set to open lower later Thursday. The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 declined 0.4%.
In off-hours trading, shares in GameStop fell 9.4% after the retailer reported fiscal second-quarter results that missed Wall Street estimates. Shares in AstraZeneca rose 1.3% premarket after the company's chief executive said a Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford could still be ready by the end of the year.
Later Thursday, investors will be watching the European Central Bank's policy decision and the release of U.S. weekly jobless claims.
Volatility in big technology stocks such as Apple, Amazon.com and Microsoft has dominated markets in recent days. Tech shares rose broadly Wednesday following a three-session selloff that pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index into correction territory. Despite recent moves lower, the Nasdaq has gained more than 20% this year.
The recent slide in tech stocks has raised worries that the market, which had risen so sharply over the summer, could be set for a more turbulent period. In a sign of nervousness, the Cboe Volatility Index, known as the VIX and seen as Wall Street's fear gauge, has risen lately and was up 2.7% to 29.60 on Thursday.
"We could see volatility continue just because there are so many factors if you think about the lack of progress on fiscal stimulus in the U.S. and the [Covid-19] case counts," said Wei Li, head of iShares EMEA investment strategy at BlackRock. "It's just hard to think we can put this to bed."
Congress remains deadlocked over a fresh stimulus package. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans said they would support a scaled-back $300 billion version of their earlier $1 trillion stimulus plan, including jobless aid, liability protections for businesses and school funding. Democrats oppose the bill, and it isn't expected to clear its first procedural hurdle in the Senate on Thursday.
In European trading, shares in British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group fell 1.8% after it outlined the terms of a planned capital increase to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce debt.
Trading in Asia was mixed, with the Shanghai Composite falling 0.6% while Korea's Kospi and Japan's Nikkei 225 each gained 0.9%.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing continued to loom over markets. More than 70% of U.S. companies polled by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai expect geopolitical turbulence to create operational difficulties for them over the next three to five years, up sharply from roughly half that said the same thing last year.
The euro gained 0.3% against the dollar ahead of the ECB's interest-rate decision. Investors will be listening for indications on how a recently stronger euro will affect monetary policy.
In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury ticked lower to 0.697%, from 0.702% on Wednesday.
In commodities, Brent crude oil fell 1% to $40.38 a barrel and WTI futures slid 1.3% to $37.54 a barrel. American Petroleum Institute data released late Wednesday showed a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories.
Write to Caitlin Ostroff at firstname.lastname@example.org