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Stock Market Today: Stock Futures Giving Back Gains on Knee-Jerk Reaction to Jobless Claims

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were giving back gains Thursday in a knee-jerk reaction to a weaker-than-expected reading on the U.S. job market.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) futures were up just 3 points, or 11.2 points above fair value, to 16,622. S&P 500 (SPY) futures were up less than 1 point, or 2.23 points above fair value, to 1,945. Nasdaq (QQQ) futures were up 2 points, or 1.7 points above fair value, to 3,947.3. Stocks finished sharply higher Thursday on improving optimism about the economy and easing geopolitical fears.

Weekly initial jobless claims rose by 21,000 to a higher-than-expected 311,000 last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. But the longer-term four-week moving average increase very marginally to 295,750, still underscoring strengthening labor market conditions.

In London, the FTSE 100 was in positive territory, with the U.K. economy doing unexpectedly well this year. Frankfurt's DAX was also higher despite the fact that eurozone gross domestic product was stagnant in the last quarter. Markets have chosen to interpret the latest figures as a sign that interest rates will remain low for much longer than previously thought.

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Geopolitics calmed down further overnight as Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would do everything in his power to end the conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to a five-day extension of the truce in Gaza.

Stocks in focus Thursday include Cisco Systems (CSCO - Get Report), after the networking hardware company said it will cut 6,000 jobs due to uncertainty over emerging markets. The stock was down 1.47% to $24.83 in premarket trading.

Burger King (BKW) announced lower-calorie French fries last year to much fanfare, but less than a year later the "Satisfries" are being pulled from most menus in its 7,371 North American stores.

Barclays (BCS) may face up to $2 billion more fines and legal costs this year, said a research note from an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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