March 9, 2017 / 12:27 PM / a year ago

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

* 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 slightly on Thursday as U.S. crude prices fell below $50 and investors remained cautious ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data that could move the needle on an interest rate hike next week.

* Also on investors’ minds is a policy announcement from the European Central Bank on Thursday. The bank is expected to back its loose monetary policy, ahead of high-risk elections in France and the Netherlands.

* Worries over Wall Street valuations and a Federal Reserve keen on raising rates next week have put the brakes on a post-election rally in recent days.

* The S&P 500 has closed lower for the past three days, setting up the benchmark for its first weekly decline in seven weeks.

* U.S. crude prices, the main drivers behind Wednesday’s drop, hit $48.79 on Thursday, their lowest since November following a record rise in inventories. Shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron were off about half a percent in premarket trading.

* The next big theme for investors is Friday’s monthly nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to feed into Fed’s decision on an interest rate hike at its meeting on March 14-15.

* Meanwhile, a report is expected to show 235,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, marking the 105th week of claims below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).

* Shares of e.l.f Beauty jumped nearly 15 percent to $29.06 premarket after the cosmetics maker reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts’ average estimate.

* Tailored Brands tumbled 31 percent to $16.20 after the Jos. A. Bank brand’s owner reported a wider-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 0.08 percent, with 113,095 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.07 percent, on volume of 19,815 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)

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