Futures are a bit lower

Stock futures were trading slightly lower just before the market open on Thursday.

Near 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow futures were down 41 points (0.23%), S&P 500 futures were down 5 points (0.26%) and Nasdaq futures were down 13 points (0.3%).

Stocks closed virtually flat on Wednesday after sharp swings following the release of minutes from the Fed’s April meeting.

The Fed made specific mention of its forthcoming June meeting and said it could raise rates then if economic data warrants it.

This was a more hawkish tone than markets had expected. And between now and the June meeting, speeches from FOMC members take on heightened importance for signals on what the Fed is likely to do, according to Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Sløk.

Remarks from a speech by Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer were released this morning but had virtually no comments on monetary policy. Remarks from New York Fed president Bill Dudley are expected at 10:30 a.m. ET.

On Thursday, Gold fell 2%, or nearly $28 an ounce, to a three-week low of $1,244.50. Crude oil retreated 2%, with West Texas Intermediate crude futures falling to as low as $46.98 per barrel.

In economic data, initial jobless claims rose to 278,000 last week, down 16,000 but more than expected.

And, the Philly Fed’s manufacturing index fell to -1.8 from -1.6.

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