Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Thursday following President Donald Trump's remarks on the U.S. dollar and interest rates, while investors kept an eye on bank earnings.
* The dollar, already suffering from a risk-off mode in the market amid geopolitical tensions, hit its lowest level this month after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the dollar "was getting too strong" and that he would like to see interest rates stay low.
* Gold XAU=, which has become the preferred asset in the past week as investors scurried to safety, was up 0.11 percent, continuing to hit levels unseen in over five months.
* Wall Street ended lower on Wednesday, responding to Trump's comments and as investors stayed away from making big bets ahead of the earnings season.
- JPMorgan (JPM.N) shares were up 1.3 percent at $86.50 premarket after the biggest U.S. bank by assets reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
* The results also lifted shares of other banks. Citigroup (C.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N), which are due to report premarket on Thursday, were marginally up.
* Bank of America (BAC.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) trimmed earlier losses to trade little changed.
* The results mark the beginning of the first-quarter earnings season, which investors will closely watch to justify lofty valuations in the market.
* The combined profit of S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen about 10 percent. However, the index is trading at about 18 times forward earnings estimate, compared with its historical average of 15, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
* Reports on weekly jobless claims and the March producer price index are expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.
* The University of Michigan will release its consumer sentiment data for April at 10:00 a.m. ET.
* Shares of Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI.O) jumped nearly 23 percent to $50.15 after the company said it expected first-quarter earnings to exceed its forecast .
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* Trading volumes could be lower than usual on Thursday ahead of the Good Friday holiday.
Futures snapshot at 6:58 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 39 points, or 0.19 percent, with 27,907 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 7 points, or 0.3 percent, with 183,128 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 13.5 points, or 0.25 percent, on volume of 29,361 contracts.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)