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Stock Futures Pare Losses as Exxon, MasterCard Beat Forecasts

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring losses following upbeat reactions to encouraging quarterly earnings reports from MasterCard (MA) and Exxon Mobil's (XOM).

They remained in the red though on concerns that the Federal Reserve was becoming less cautious about early tapering of its stimulus program and as the eurozone's labor market was still on shaky ground.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 2.75 points, or 0.06 points below fair value, to 1,757.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 9 points, or 7.76 points below fair value, to 15,544. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 15.5 points, or 0.43 points below fair value, to 3,376.8.

The eurozone's unemployment rate sat at a record high of 12.2% in September, while the August estimate was upwardly revised to 12.2%, according the European Union statistics agency Eurostat.

Starbucks (SBUX) shares were falling 1.66% to $79.49 in premarket trading as revenue fell short of analyst expectations for the coffee-focused retailer's September-ending fourth quarter. U.S. operations had comp sales growth of 8% in the quarter. Starbucks said comparable sales in its China and Asia Pacific markets rose 8%, but just 2% comp growth in its Europe, Middle East and Africa markets.

Exxon shares were gaining 0.55% to $89.30 after the oil giant reported third quarter earnings per share of $1.79 on revenue of $112.37 billion, beating the average analyst earnings estimate of $1.77 a share on revenue of $107.39 billion. During the quarter, oil and natural gas output increased from a year earlier, but refining margins were significantly weaker.

MasterCard was advancing 1.23% to $733.97 after the credit card company said it booked third quarter earnings per share of $7.27 on revenue of $2.22 billion, topping the consensus expectation of $6.95 a share on revenue of $2.13 billion on an increase in credit card spending.

Facebook's FB earnings topped Wall Street expectations but the social networking giant noted teens are using the service less. Facebook reported third-quarter earnings of 25 cents a share on revenue of $2.02 billion. Shares were up 0.73% to $49.34.

Initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 340,000 in the week ended October 26, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists on average were expecting a fall to 339,000.

"The reduction is welcome but given the slow feed through of second-round effects of fired-workers filing unemployment claims relating to the closure in Washington, it will take a couple more weeks before the true trend reasserts itself," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economist strategist at Miller Tabak in New York said in a note.

At 9:45 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management is forecast to report that the Chicago purchasing managers' index fell to 55 in October from 55.7 in September.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was gaining 8/32, diluting the yield to 2.515%. The dollar was up 0.18% to $79.92 according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE in London was down 0.4% while the DAX in Germany was down 0.28%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished behind by 1.2%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.42%.

December crude oil futures were up 5 cents to $96.82 a barrel and December gold futures were dropping $15 to $1,334.30 an ounce.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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