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Stock Futures Gain as Jobless Claims Top Expectations

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were moving higher Thursday as initial jobless claims beat expectations.

Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 5.5 points, or 0.33%, to 1,693.75.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 51 points, or 0.33%, to 15,493. Nasdaq futures were up 12 points, or 0.39% to 3,128.25.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 3 rose to 333,000, up 5,000 from the prior week's revised print but below what economists polled by Thomson Reuters anticipated. The four-week moving average dipped to 335,500, which was near its lowest level since the recession began in late 2007.

Stocks slipped on Wednesday as continued speculation that the Federal Reserve could start drawing back on purchases of mortgage-backed securities and longer-term Treasuries. Quantitative easing has been cited by analysts and economists as one of the major factors for the S&P 500's more-than 150% rise since hitting a bottom in March of 2009 due to the financial crisis.

In company news, shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report) were surging 15% to $154.38 in premarket action after the electric car maker posted second-quarter earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations. The company reported earnings of 5 cents a share on revenue of $405 million, while analysts were looking for a loss of 17 cents on revenue of $383.4 million.

Shares of Groupon (GRPN - Get Report) were soaring 24.4% to $10.85 after the board named Eric Leftofsky as its chief executive and after the company reported earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $608.7 million, which slightly beat expectations. Groupon cited strong mobile purchases among North American users in the quarter.

European markets were gaining on Thursday. The FTSE 100 in London was increasing 0.33%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was adding 0.83%.

Asian markets closed mixed overnight. Japan's Nikkei average closed lower by 1.59% at 13,606, despite the Bank of Japan's decision to leave its key interest rate unchanged and to continue the pace of its bond-buying program. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.31% to 21,656.
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