Futures are higher and crude oil is sliding

Stock futures are slightly higher ahead of the open on Thursday, following closes in the red all week.

Near 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow futures were up 24 points, S&P 500 futures were up 5 points, and Nasdaq futures were up 10 points.

This was right after Labour Department data showed that initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week, by 13,000 to 282,000.

That’s about the only thing on the economic calendar today. Tomorrow is jam-packed though, with retail sales, producer prices, and consumer sentiment due in the morning.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures suddenly fell to as low as $36.59 per barrel after 8:00 a.m. in New York.

Futures have been under pressure since last Friday, when the 12-member oil cartel OPEC raised its production target to 31.5 million barrels per day, and did not agree on a ceiling for member states.

On Wednesday, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US oil inventories fell for the first time in ten weeks last week, by 3.6 million barrels. Analysts had expected a build by nearly 2 million barrels according to Investing.com.

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