US STOCKS-Futures flat as turbulent quarter draws to close

jueves 31 de marzo de 2016 07:28 GYT

* Futures down: Dow 8 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts

By Abhiram Nandakumar

March 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, the last day of a turbulent first quarter for financial markets as investors fled from risk amid worries about global growth.

* Global stocks fell, while safe-haven gold and bonds rose as investors closed off positions for the quarter.

* Investors' nerves were soothed this week by U.S. Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen's comments that the central bank should be cautious with raising interest rates.

* Yellen's remarks helped quell speculation that the Fed could be aggressive with its plan to raise rates and pushed stocks to their highest this year.

* The S&P 500 is now up nearly 1 percent for the year after being down as much as 10.5 percent in February.

* While recent data has signaled strength in the labor market, the critical non-farm payrolls report on Friday will give investors a clearer reading on the state of the economy.

* Data due on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims held steady at 265,000 last week, well below the 300,000 mark denoting a healthy labor market.   Continuación...