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After nearly a 300-handle move with no major losing days, the S&P 500 index futures finally saw a pullback in Thursday’s session, though it was still fairly small.

The overnight hours saw the index futures slowly melting up with no major volatility until 8:30am EDT, when jobs and housing data was released. April’s housing starts and building permits both came in about 2.7~2.9% below expectations, and last week’s initial jobless claims were marginally above expectations. After the initial pop, bears started to initiate some selling until support was found near Wednesday evening’s Globex open.

Once the regular session commenced, the bulls started to establish a bid and continue the rally to bring the index futures back into the green. The rally wasn’t entirely smooth sailing, as Fedspeak beginning at 10:00am EDT instigated some selling, but the bulls marched on after buying that dip. After breaching the premarket high, also making new all-time highs for the index (5249), the bulls were unable to hold onto the gains and the bears started to take control. Following that, the afternoon’s action consisted of a series of selloffs followed by chop.

The final 30 minutes of the session had the most volatile swings, with bears making new intraday lows, followed by the bulls trying to establish support. After closing imbalances were in, it seemed the bulls were set to bring the index futures back up to unchanged, but it was the bears that ultimately won out in the final 5 minutes, taking the index futures to new intraday lows. 

By the end of the session, consumer staples was just about the only bright spot in the market, benefitting from Walmart Inc.’s (NYSE: WMT) earnings beat and raised guidance released Thursday morning. For the index futures, the day concluded near the lows at 5320.25, down by 12.75 handles.

Among the top components of the index, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) emerged as the biggest gainer. The tech titan was able to advance by $1.67 or 0.97% to close at $174.18 for the day, a new all-time closing high for the issue.

That performance was just over one percent better than the cash index’s decline of 0.21%.

The biggest loser ended up being Eli Lilly And Co (NYSE: LLY) after Roche announced initial positive results for their obesity drug, possibly adding to Eli Lilly’s competition. For the day, the drug manufacturer declined by $16.15 or 2.05% to close at $771.12.


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