* Dollar trades near one-month low, gold surges
* Merck up after multiple broker upgrades
* Disney drops after rating cut
* Futures down: Dow 36 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 13.75 pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Jan 12 U.S. stocks were set for a lower open on
Thursday after President-elect Donald Trump gave little clarity
on his promises of boosting economic growth that had powered a
record-breaking rally on Wall Street for two months.
Trump, in his first news conference on Wednesday, gave no
details on tax cuts or infrastructure spending, and instead
lashed out at U.S. spy agencies and news agencies over what he
called a 'phony' Russia dossier.
He also blasted pharmaceutical companies over high drug
prices, causing health stocks to snap a six-day winning streak
and a wobble in Wall Street.
However, a rise in energy and technology stocks helped the
market close higher on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq ending at a
record high for the fourth session in a row.
Dow e-minis were down 36 points, or 0.18 percent at
8:32 a.m. ET on Thursday, with 21,201 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.5 points, or 0.24
percent, with 131,309 contracts traded and Nasdaq 100 e-minis
were down 13.75 points, or 0.27 percent, on volume of
"The indices are trading lower as investors rethink
yesterday Trump press conference," said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
"The fact that there was no mention of fiscal policy is
weighing on the greenback this morning (and) causing a cautious
mood in the equity arena."
The dollar fell to its lowest level in nearly one
month on Thursday. Prices of safe-haven gold rose to
their highest since late November.
With Trump's comments at the back of their minds, investors
will turn their focus to the earnings season, which will kick
off in earnest on Friday when a trio of big banks report.
S&P 500 companies' earnings in the fourth quarter are
estimated to have risen 5.7 percent - the best in three years -
largely due to a rise in financial stocks, according to Thomson
Merck, one of the few health stocks that avoided the
carnage in the sector on Wednesday, gained 1.4 percent to $62.52
premarket after multiple broker upgrades.
The drugmaker's fellow Dow component Disney Co was
off 1 percent at $108.28 after Pivotal cut its rating on the
stock to 'sell'.
Apple was off 0.58 percent at $118.97.
A report from the U.S. Labor Department showed the number of
Americans applying for unemployment benefit rose less than
expected to 247,000 last week. Economists had estimated a rise
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by