There’s a lot of hesitation in stock markets this morning as oil prices slide.
Here are the five things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:
Oil futures are down by about 4%, with crude trading around $ 50 per barrel.
StockViews chief executive Tom Beevers said a report from the American Petroleum Institute showing a jump in crude supplies was “spooking the market.”
This comes ahead of the closely-watched U.S. Energy Information Administration report due out 11 a.m. ET, which is also expected to show oil inventories have risen.
Over the past few months, moves in oil prices have influenced stock markets, though the recent correlation between equities and oil is considered abnormal.
Greece’s current bailout program expires on February 28 and markets have been concerned that the country is going to run out of money and could exit the eurozone.
No word yet on how creditors will respond.
3. Central bank insights: The European Central Bank is set to publish minutes from its January meeting, giving investors insight into the historic decision to launch a large scale, money-printing program. Markets will be curious to see how united the central bankers were during their discussions.
This comes after the U.S. Federal Reserve released its latest set of meeting minutes Wednesday. Investors generally focused on a line indicating the Fed would keep interest rates at record-low levels for “a longer time”.
The Fed had been indicating it may raise rates this year as the economy picked up.
4. Earnings and economics: Walmart (, )DirecTV ( and )Priceline (Tech30) are reporting earnings before the opening bell. ,
Intuit ( and )Nordstrom ( will report after the close. )
Shares in Air France-KLM ( were declining by about 5% in Europe after the company reported full-year results. The company struggled last year as pilots went on strike for an extended period. )
“Strike action by Air France pilots did not help, but we believe there was underlying weakness too,” said Liberum analyst Gerald Khoo. “We remain concerned about the outlook.”
On the economic front, the U.S. government will post weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET.