* Bank stocks fall premarket
* Weekly jobless claims fall more than expected
* Wal-Mart up after profit beat
* Futures down: Dow 97 pts, S&P 9 pts, Nasdaq 10.75 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 18 (Reuters) - A selloff in U.S. stocks looked set to extend into its second day on Thursday as a series of scandals cast a shadow over Donald Trump’s presidency and the future of his ambitious pro-growth agenda.
Reports that Trump had tried to intervene in an ongoing federal investigation led to the harshest selloff in U.S. stocks on Wednesday since his election in November.
Investors unwound positions made on hopes that Trump’s promises such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending would stoke economic growth and inflation.
Reports that Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and other campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials through phone calls and emails during the 2016 presidential race added to the tensions in the market.
The dollar index remained near its lowest level since November while gold prices edged up for the sixth straight day. Oil prices, that generally rise on a weak dollar, were off more than 1.7 percent.
Dow e-minis were down 97 points, or 0.47 percent at 8:27 a.m. ET (1227 GMT), with 75,908 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 9 points, or 0.38 percent, with 407,678 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.75 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 88,661 contracts.
However, analysts said the underlying strength in the economy could give investors the confidence to use Wednesday’s decline to buy the market cheap.
“I would anticipate that the markets flatten out and start to rise a little bit maybe midday today, as we finish digesting the news,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management, LLC in Chicago, Illinois.
“I’m not concerned, just yet, that we’re on the cusp of a major breakdown in the market. From a very short term perspective this is a very good buying opportunity.”
A report from the U.S. Labor Department showed weekly jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week and the number of Americans receiving unemployment aid hit a 28-1/2-year low, pointing to rapidly shrinking labor market slack.
Bank stocks, which sold off on Wednesday, were down 0.8-1.6 percent premarket.
Market heavyweight Wal-Mart was up 1.24 percent at $76.05 after the big-box retailer’s quarterly earnings beat analysts’ expectations.
Alibaba was down 2.8 percent at $117.4 after the Chinese e-commerce website’s quarterly earnings missed analysts’ expectations.
Incyte Corp rose 7 percent to $129 after the company said its immunotherapy drug combination was effective in a lung cancer study. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)