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Stocks Decline as Fed Stimulus Hopes Lose Clout

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were slumping Thursday as optimism about the potential for more accommodation from the Federal Reserve was muted by heightened concerns about global growth and a jump in jobless claims numbers.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 14 points, or 7.76 points below fair value, at 13,142. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.3 points, or 1.24 points below fair value, at 1410. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 were off 4.25 points, or 4.92 points below fair value, 2777.

The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 18 rose 4,000 to 372,000, spiking to a one-month high, from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 368,000. Economists on average thought that claims would total 365,000. The four-week moving average is now 368,000, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's average of 364,250.

Continuing claims for the week ended Aug. 11 rose 4,000 to 3.317 million, compared with the expected 3.298 million.

The Census Bureau releases new home sales figures for July at 10 a.m. ET. The consensus view among economists is that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 368,000 last month from 350,000.

The read on the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index for June is also slated for 10 a.m.

The FTSE in London was paring gains, up 0.21%, and the DAX in Germany was retreating from positive territory, lower by 0.43%. Markit Economics said Thursday that output declined in both the manufacturing and service sectors of the eurozone for the seventh straight month in August.

Meanwhile, Markit and HSBC said that the flash read on China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to a nine-month low in August.

Earlier, the Hong Kong Hang Seng index finished up by 1.23% and the Nikkei in Japan closed up by 0.51% with the help of global stimulus optimism.

Stocks got a boost late Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting showed growing support for additional stimulus "fairly soon."

October crude oil futures were rising 76 cents at $98.02 a barrel and December gold futures were surging $24.20 at $1,664.70 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1/32, diluting the yield to 1.692%. The greenback down 0.13%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, HP's (HPQ - Get Report) revenue trailed Wall Street analysts' consensus forecast in the third quarter, weighed down by declining PC and printing sales.

HP lowered its guidance. For fiscal 2012, the company now expects earnings of $4.05 to $4.07 a share, at the low end of its previously provided outlook.

Rambus (RMBS - Get Report), the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based technology licensing company, said after Wednesday's close that it plans to lay off 15% of its workforce as part of a restructuring.

Hain Celestial Group (HAIN), the Melville, New York-based natural and organic food and personal care products company, said its British subsidiary has reached a deal to buy Premier Foods' portfolio of grocery brands and a manufacturing base in the U.K.

Los Angeles-based Guess (GES) posted weaker quarterly results and cut its guidance.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,776.43 +304.06 1.85%
S&P 500 1,987.05 +35.69 1.83%
NASDAQ 4,781.2640 +73.4890 1.56%

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