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Stock Futures Decline as Economic Worries Prevail

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were declining, pointing to a lower Wall Street open Thursday, with risk appetite drying up on discouraging overseas data and disappointing reads on the health of the labor market.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were declining by 37 points, or 43.48 points below fair value, at 13,047. Futures for the S&P 500 were dipping 4.60 points, or 6.19 points below fair value, at 1403. Futures for the Nasdaq were giving up 8.50 points, or 10 points below fair value, at 2773.

The Labor Department reported initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 25 of 374,000, unchanged after the previous week's figure was upwardly revised by 2,000. Continuing claims for the week ended Aug. 18 fell 5,000 to 3.32 million. Economists had predicted initial jobless claims of 370,000 and continuing claims of 3.307 million.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that personal income increased 0.3% in July after rising 0.3% in June. Personal spending rose 0.4% after coming in basically flat the prior month. Economists had expected that personal income would rise in July by 0.3% and that spending rose 0.4%.

"The pattern of U.S. growth is not uniform, and this suggests that any policy response needs to move away from the generic and become more sophisticated," said Paul Donavan, a global economist at UBS.

U.S. stocks closed with minuscule gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report found the U.S. economy grew "gradually" last month.

The FTSE in London was shedding 0.26% and the DAX in Germany was falling 0.85% as German unemployment in August rose for a fifth straight month and data showed that euro area economic confidence was at a three-year low in August.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index settled lower by 1.19% and the Nikkei in Japan settled lower by 0.95% after Japan posted a larger-than-expected 0.8% drop in retail sales in July.

Global economic fears were creeping in ahead of the much awaited Jackson Hole, Wyo. economic symposium this weekend. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has pulled out of the symposium, citing a busy schedule. Other members of the ECB's executive board have decided not to attend the symposium either, suggesting that a lot of work remains to be done before the next ECB policy meeting on Sept. 6.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will be presenting his monetary policy speech in Jackson Hole on Friday.

October crude oil futures were down 21 cents at $95.28 a barrel and December gold futures were slipping $4.80 at $1,658.20 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 2/32, diluting the yield to 1.647%. The greenback was down 0.04%, according to the dollar index.

On the corporate front, Pandora (P), the streaming music company, posted break-even results for its fiscal second quarter on Wednesday and provided strong guidance. Shares were surging more than 15% in premarket trading.

Standard & Poor's said it is removing Sears ( SHLD ) from its benchmark S&P 500 index. The struggling department store retailer will be nixed from the index after the close of trading on Sept. 4, replaced by LyondellBasell Industries ( LYB ). Sears shares were tumbling more than 4% while LyondellBasell shares were gaining more than 4%.

TiVo (TIVO), the digital video-recording technology company, reported a narrower second-quarter loss on Wednesday as it gained 23,000 subscribers for the quarter ended in July. TiVo said it expects fiscal third-quarter revenue from service and technology to range from $57 million to $59 million. Analysts are forecasting $57 million. Shares were advancing nearly 4%.

British bank Barclays (BCS) named Antony Jenkins, head of its retail and business banking operations, as its new CEO. He replaces Bob Diamond, who resigned in the wake of the Libor rate-fixing scandal. American depositary receipts for Barclays were down 0.34%

Retailers are reporting same-store sales throughout Thursday. Thomson Reuters forecasts overall growth of 2.1% for August, down from an increase of 4.8% last year.

Gap (GPS) reported that its comparable sales for August were up 9%. Shares were up 0.94%.

Macy's (M) posted a same-store sales gain of 5.1% this month. Shares were up 0.69%.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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