Oil Steady, GDP & Jobless Claims, Earnings, Health Insurance

Oil Steady, GDP & Jobless Claims, Earnings, Health Insurance

Oil remained steady despite pressure on risk assets. The stock market’s selling pressure had only a limited effect on crude oil prices. 

It remained well supported by a steady drawdown in global inventories. This was illustrated by a sharp drop in U.S. stockpiles announced by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

U.S. crude futures were down 0.2% at $52.77 a barrel by 6:35 AM ET. Brent futures were down by a similar amount at $55.41 a barrel.

GDP and Jobless Claims Due

The United States will announce its preliminary reading of Q4 gross domestic product at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT).

The economy is likely to have grown at an annualized pace of 4%. That is a sharp slowdown from the 33% in Q3. Seen rising 1.5% year-on-year was core personal consumption expenditures, the favoured measure of inflation at the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, more timely data on the labour market will be out. Last week, initial jobless claims were likely to have stayed at a high level of 875,000. December’s new home sales data completes the data roster.

Stocks to Open Mixed after Sharpest One-day Sell-off

In the U.S., stock markets are set to open mixed following their sharpest one-day sell-off in weeks on Tuesday.

Dow Jones futures were up 10 points, less than 0.1% by 6:35 AM (1135 GMT). The S&P 500 futures were down 0.2%, while Nasdaq futures were down 0.8%.

The deluge of earnings continues, with both Mastercard (early) and Visa (late) reporting, along with Comcast, McDonald’s, Altria and Dow. Moreover, Stanley Black & Decker and three of the country’s biggest airlines – American, JetBlue and Southwest.

Biden to Reopen Health Insurance Marketplaces Online

U.S. President Joe Biden will reopen the nation’s online health insurance marketplace. This will be for people who cannot obtain coverage through their employers, the White House said on Thursday.

Following his taking of office last week, Biden will restore access to healthcare.gov with an executive order on Thursday afternoon. This is the latest in a blizzard of moves by the Democratic president. The move was to quickly reverse the policies of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.

The order will allow citizens to sign up for insurance. That is through the government exchange from Feb. 15th to May 15th, the White House said. Normally, the program is accessible for just six weeks a year.

The action was expected and Biden has vowed to shore up healthcare.gov. and other programs. Specifically, those created under former President Barack Obama’s sweeping 2010 Affordable Care Act.