Stock Futures Waver After Jobless Claims

By Dow Jones Business News, 

By Tomi Kilgore

U.S. stock futures tilted slightly lower through the release of jobless claims data, as relative weakness in high- growth momentum stocks looked set to continue.

About 55 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures eased seven points, or less than 0.1%, to 16461.

S&P 500 index futures lost four points, or 0.2%, to 1870 and futures for the technology-heavy Nasdaq-100 declined 13 points, or 0.4%, to 3528. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

Initial claims for jobless benefits during the latest week fell by 26,000 to 319,000, versus expectations of 325,000.

Still on tap, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will testify before Congress starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT, but she's expected to just repeat what she said on Wednesday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 2.617% from a three-month low of 2.590% late Wednesday.

Previous high-growth momentum stocks looked poised to take another hit Thursday, following disappointing results from Tesla Motors and a downbeat outlook from Priceline Group.

European markets were on course to snap a four-session losing streak after both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept their monetary policies intact, as was expected.

On Thursday, S&P 500 futures slipped two points, or 0.1%, to 1872 and Nasdaq-100 futures gave up six points, or 0.2%, to 3534. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

Among other previously highflying stocks, Twitter rose 0.8% after tumbling 21% in the previous two sessions on the heels of a post-IPO lockup expiration. Facebook fell 0.4% and Netflix lost 0.2%.

Ford Motor rose 1% after the auto maker said late Thursday it would buy back up to 116 million shares, equivalent to about $1.8 billion, as the company looks to offset the dilutive effects of potential conversions of certain convertible notes.

On a bright note, China's exports and imports rose unexpectedly in April, after falling sharply in March, suggesting the world's second-largest economy may be recovering from a recent slowdown. China's exports grew 0.9% from a year ago, compared with expectations of a 3.5% decline. Imports increased 0.8% versus forecasts for a 3.2% drop.

The Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%.

Concerns over Ukraine remained in the background, as the main pro-Russian separatist group in eastern Ukraine decided Thursday to go ahead with a referendum on secession this weekend, despite calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone the vote.

Asian markets got a lift from the Chinese trade data, with the Shanghai Composite rising 0.3% and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average adding 0.9%.

Write to Tomi Kilgore at

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

This article appears in: US Markets , Economy

Referenced Stocks: F , FB , NFLX , TSLA , TWTR

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