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Market Hustle: Stock Futures Weaken After Trade, Jobless Claims Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were weakening Thursday as investors processed a rise in jobless claims and a widening of the U.S. international trade gap.

  • S&P 500 futures were down 0.25 points, or 0.9 points below fair value, to 1,882.75, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 6 points, or 1 point below fair value, to 16,493, and Nasdaq futures were down 1.3 points, or 0.49 points below fair value, to 3,657.
  • Initial jobless claims for the week of March 29 increased by 16,000 to 326,000, vs. the average economist's estimate of 317,000. The four-week moving average ticked up by 250. The February U.S. trade deficit arrived at $42.3 billion, compared with the expected deficit of $38.5 billion.
  • Other economic reports Thursday include a reading for the March Markit PMI services index at 9:45 a.m. and the March ISM Non-Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
  • The headline number for ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is forecast to have risen to 53.5 from 51.6. Investors will also be looking at the employment index portion of the services report, which came in at 47.5 for February.
  • The European Central Bank kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25%, as expected.
  • International markets were mixed. The UK FTSE 100 was up 0.03%, the DAX in Germany was down 0.07%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.18%, and the Nikkei 225 settled ahead by 0.84%.
  • In corporate news, Google's (GOOG - Get Report) unusual stock split is taking effect on Thursday. The new Class C shares will trade under its historic stock ticker GOOG, while the Class A shares will trade under the new stock ticker (GOOGL). OpenTable (OPEN) shares were adding 2% in premarket trading after being raise to "buy" from "neutral" at Citigroup. Juniper Networks (JNPR - Get Report) was sliding 0.87% after the company said it expects to reduce its global headcount by about 6% and that it will incur estimated cash charges of about $35 million for the move during the fiscal 2014 first quarter.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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