U.S. Futures Sink as Jobless Claims Rise More than Expected; Fed Statement, China Manufacturing Data Weigh

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U.S. stock futures extended their losses following the report that weekly jobless claims rose to 354,000 - more than the expected increase to 340,000, according to a poll of economists by MarketWatch. The level of initial claims was still consistent with an improving labor market, however, market sentiment was still grim following the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and Ben Bernanke's speech Wednesday afternoon. The Fed indicated that it was optimistic about its outlook on the U.S. economy and signaled that it may reduce the government's bond buying program as early as this year. Weak manufacturing data from China also weighed on stocks as well as on commodities.



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