U.S. futures hold steady ahead of ECB, jobs data; Dow Jones up 0.02%

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Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Thursday, as markets were jittery ahead of a highly anticipated policy statement by the European Central Bank and as investors began to focus on Friday's U.S. employment data.

Ahead of the open, the Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.02% gain, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.03% dip, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.07% loss.

Investors remained cautious after data earlier in the week showed that the euro zone's consumer price inflation stands well below the European Central Bank target of near but just under 2%, adding to expectations that the central bank will take steps to tackle low consumer price growth.

Meanwhile, market participants turned to Friday's report on U.S. nonfarm payrolls for further indications on the strength of the U.S. job market after a data on Wednesday showed that private sector jobs rose less than expected last month.

Payroll processing firm ADP said non-farm private employment rose by 179,000 in May, below expectations for an increase of 210,000. April's figure was revised down to a gain of 215,000 from a previously reported increase of 220,000.

The telecom sector was set to be in focus, amid reports Sprint (NYSE:S), up 4.47% in after-hour trade, is nearing an agreement on the price, capital structure and termination fee of an acquisition for T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) that could value the wireless carrier at almost $40 a share.

Boosted by the news, T-Mobile surged 3.12% in early trading.

Tech stocks were also expected to be active, as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) jumped 1.34% pre-market even as China's government took another step against the company by telling officials in one province not to use Windows 8 software.

The move marked another step in an ongoing dispute with the U.S. over spying and hacking allegations.

Elsewhere, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) was down 0.25% in extended trade, despite reports India could soon allow global online retailers to sell their own products in the country as early as next month, removing restrictions that have held back competition in one of the world's biggest retail markets.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included Joy Global (NYSE:JOY) and Diamond Foods (NASDAQ:DMND), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 inched up 0.03%, France's CAC 40 eased up 0.03%, Germany's DAX slipped 0.12%, while Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.23%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.18%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.08%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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