U.S. futures turn higher after upbeat jobs data; Dow up 0.3%

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Forexpros - U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday, erasing sharp losses following the release of better-than-expected data on first time jobless claims, while fears over the health of the euro zone's banking sector weighed.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.3%, the S&P 500 futures advanced 0.45%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.85%.

Stock futures erased losses after official data showed that first time jobless claims fell by 7,000 to 395,000 last week, outstripping expectations for a decline to 401,000.

A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly to USD53.1 billion in June, the largest deficit in almost three years

Meanwhile, European equities were significantly off their earlier highs, as shares in major French lenders erased gains, to trade sharply lower. Societe Generale, which at one point saw shares trade 5.5% higher, tumbled 8%.

Rivals BNP Paribas saw shares drop 5.5%, amid speculation the lender was facing another EUR496 million of losses on Greece, while Credit Agricole surrendered a 6.5% gain to trade down 2.1%.

In earnings news, Sara Lee saw shares tumble 7.6% in pre-market trade after reporting a 40% decline in fiscal fourth quarter earnings. Revenue in the period was USD2.30 billion, just above expectations for revenue of USD2.28 billion.

On the upside, technology bellwether Cisco Systems soared 12.8% after it said fiscal fourth quarter revenue rose to USD11.2 billion, beating expectations for revenue of USD10.98 billion.

Media giant News Corp. saw shares climb 4.3% after reporting revenue of USD8.96 billion, 11% higher than last year and above expectations of USD8.46 billion.

Other notable earnings scheduled for Thursday include, clothing retailer Nordstrom and technology firm Nvidia, which were both slated to report results after the closing bell.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets posted sharp losses. The EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 2.5%, France's CAC 40 fell 2.3%, Germany's DAX declined 0.9%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.5% lower.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped 0.95%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dipped 0.65%.

Asian equities came off their earlier lows in mid-afternoon trade, stabilizing after dramatic plunges earlier in the session.

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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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