The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a mixed open on Friday, with stocks poised to move in opposite directions once again after closing mixed for two consecutive sessions. Lingering uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets may keep some traders on the sidelines going into the first weekend of the summer.
Stocks saw modest strength for much of the trading session on Thursday but gave back ground going into the close. The major averages pulled back near the unchanged line, with the Dow and the S&P 500 dipping into negative territory.
The major averages finished the day mixed for the second consecutive session. While the Nasdaq inched up 2.73 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 6,236.69, the Dow slipped 12.74 points or 0.1 percent to 21,397.29 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.11 points or 0.1 percent to 2,434.50.
Earlier in the day, stocks benefited from a positive reaction to the release of the details of the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Healthcare stocks showed a strong move to the upside following the release of the draft of the bill but gave back ground along with the broader markets late in the session.
The pullback may partly have reflected uncertainty about the future of the bill after four Republican Senators said they cannot support the plan in its current form.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has little margin for error with the bill, as he can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans and still pass the legislation.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report before the start of trading showing a modest uptick in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended June 17th.
The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 241,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 238,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 240,000.
A separate report from the Conference Board showed that its index of leading economic…