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U.S. stock futures little changed after Wednesday's sell-off

U.S. stock futures were little changed on Wednesday evening on the heels of a market slump.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 hovered near the flat line, while those for the Nasdaq 100 slipped 0.2%.

The move in futures follows a Wednesday session that finished on a sour note. After bouncing around the flat line for most of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned south in the final hour of trading to register a loss of 345 points, or 1.2%. The S&P 500 also dropped 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.8%.

The slide for stocks accompanied mixed news about the coronavirus crisis. On Wednesday morning, Pfizer announced that a final analysis showed that its vaccine candidate was 95% effective against Covid-19. However, New York City announced during the afternoon that it was closing schools due to a rising positivity rate.

"This is the perfect day that describes what we're calling the 'Covid air pocket.' We have a linearity issue, which is that you can't get there from here without going through a lot of bad news and some slowdown in the real economy," Alicia Levine, chief strategist at BNY Investment Management, said on Thursday's "Closing Bell."

Despite Wednesday's struggle, Wall Street has still seen a strong November. The S&P 500 has gained 9.1% month to date, while the small cap Russell 2000 hit an intraday record high on Wednesday.

The strength for small caps has been part of an outperformance for cyclical stocks in recent weeks after growth-oriented tech stock fueled much of the market's rally from its March lows.

"You see the market really kind of wanting to move in one direction, and then I think the vaccine news was certainly a catalyst to accelerate that a little bit. So I wouldn't be surprised to see that trade persist for some time," Jeff Mills, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust, said about the rotation into cyclical names.

"That being said, I do think the leadership in the market could be volatile over the next couple of months because you're going to be battling Covid case increases and incrementally better news relative to the vaccine," Mills continued.

On the earnings front, L Brands continued a string of strong reports for retail names with beats on the top and bottom lines after the bell on Wednesday. Department story Macy's is set to report its fiscal third quarter results on Thursday morning.

Thursday morning will also bring another look at how the labor market recovery is faring amid rising cases of Covid-19. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect the reading for initial jobless claims to come in at 710,000, roughly flat compared with the prior week.

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