* Bank of America falls after results
* Best Buy down after holiday sales
* Initial jobless claims rise
* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 4.25 pts, Nasdaq 0.5 pt (Adds quote, data)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 15 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were poised for a slightly higher open on Thursday, as investors grappled with a move by the Swiss National Bank to scrap its three-year euro cap on the franc.
Trading was volatile, with futures fluctuating between gains and losses after the SNB said it would discontinue the cap it introduced on Sept. 6, 2011 to fight recession and deflation threats.
Swiss stocks traded in the U.S. moved higher before the opening bell, including UBS, up 3.6 percent at $ 17.07, Credit Suisse, up 4 percent at $ 23.72 and Novartis , up 3.8 percent to $ 100.48, as a strengthening Swiss franc made U.S.-dollar denominated stocks cheaper.
A rebound in oil prices somewhat helped soothe investor nerves, with Brent up 1.6 percent to $ 49.48 and U.S. crude up 3.8 percent to $ 50.33.
“The Swiss move was obviously the big move, people are trying to get their arms around what it means for the U.S. stock market,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“The market has taken a few-day drop and the bump in energy prices this morning is probably providing a bit of a solid bid for some of the oversold names in the energy sector. It will take some of the morning to sort out the impact of the Swiss move across the board.”
Bank of America lost 2.7 percent to $ 15.60 before the opening bell after the second-largest U.S. bank by assets reported a 14 percent slump in quarterly profit, while Citigroup shares fell 1.5 percent to $ 48.30 after its quarterly results.
Dow component Intel Corp is scheduled to report after the market closes.
Expectations for U.S. fourth-quarter earnings have fallen sharply in recent months, with growth now estimated at just 3.6 percent compared with an Oct. 1 estimate for 11.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 4.25 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 41 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 0.5 point.
U.S. stocks dropped for a fourth day Wednesday in volatile trading after a World Bank forecast added to worries about the health of the global economy.
The benchmark S&P has fallen in nine of the past 11 days. The index is down more than 3.8 percent from its last record high Dec. 29.
U.S. producer prices posted their biggest drop in more than three years in December, while weekly initial jobless claims rose, but still indicated an improving job market. Separately, New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index rose in January.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s reading on factory activity is due at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT).
Best Buy shares tumbled 10.4 percent to $ 35.78 before the opening bell after the electronics retailer posted holiday sales results and said it expects same-store sales growth to be flat to negative in the first two quarters of its fiscal year.
U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry dropped 16.6 percent to $ 10.50 after South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said it had no plan to buy the smartphone maker, denying a Reuters report on a takeover approach.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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