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US STOCKS-Futures slip as U.S. crude falls below $50

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* Futures down: Dow 25 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 3.75 pts By Yashaswini Swamynathan March 9 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures dipped slightlyon Thursday as U.S. crude prices fell below $50 and investorsremained cautious ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data thatcould move the needle on an interest rate hike next week. * Also on investors’ minds is a policy announcement from theEuropean Central Bank on Thursday. The bank is expected to backits loose monetary policy, ahead of high-risk elections inFrance and the Netherlands. * Worries over Wall Street valuations and a Federal Reservekeen on raising rates next week have put the brakes on apost-election rally in recent days. * The S&P 500 has closed lower for the past threedays, setting up the benchmark for its first weekly decline inseven weeks. * U.S. crude prices, the main drivers behind Wednesday’sdrop, hit $48.79 on Thursday, their lowest since Novemberfollowing a record rise in inventories. Shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron were off about half a percent inpremarket trading. * The next big theme for investors is Friday’s monthlynonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to feed into Fed’sdecision on an interest rate hike at its meeting on March 14-15. * Meanwhile, a report is expected to show 235,000 Americansapplied for unemployment benefits last week, marking the 105thweek of claims below 300,000, a threshold associated with ahealthy labor market. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330GMT). * Shares of e.l.f Beauty jumped nearly 15 percent to$29.06 premarket after the cosmetics maker reported quarterlyrevenue that beat analysts’ average estimate. * Tailored Brands tumbled 31 percent to $16.20after the Jos. A. Bank brand’s owner reported awider-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter. Futures snapshot at 6:53 a.m. ET: * Dow e-minis were down 25 points, or 0.12 percent,with 19,654 contracts changing hands. * S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.08percent, with 113,095 contracts traded. * Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.07percent, on volume of 19,815 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)

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