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Futures Dip on Jobless Claims, China Deficit

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures pointed to a weaker open Thursday as investors absorbed a larger-than-expected increase in initial jobless claims, a surprise trade deficit in China and a downgrade to Spain's credit rating.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 36 points, or 69 points below fair value, at 12,138. Futures for the S&P 500 were lower by 6 points, or 10 points below fair value, at 1310, and Nasdaq futures were off by 10 points, or 22 points below fair value.

Stocks finished flat Wednesday as tensions in Libya continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

Initial jobless claims gained 26,000 to 397,000, from 371,000 in the week ended March 5. The rise was larger than the increase of 14,000 to 382,000 that economists had expected, according to Briefing.com.

China reported an unexpected trade deficit in February as higher commodity prices impacted its import bill.

Moody's lowered Spain's credit rating by one notch to Aa2 on concerns regarding the cost of the banking sector's restructuring and the government's ability to lower borrowing.

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