Updated from 6:54 a.m. EST

Premarket futures were hinting at a mixed open for U.S. stocks Thursday, as corporate news from the retail, auto and technology sectors suggested continuing economic struggles.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 0.4 points at 854 and were 3.2 points above fair value.


futures were down 11 points at 1146 and were 12 points short of fair value.

On Wednesday, stocks got pummeled as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson offered modifications on how the government would spend the remaining money in the $700 billion

Troubled Asset Relief Program


Ahead of the new session, corporate headlines were adding to the selling mood. Retail giant


(WMT) - Get Report

reported a rise in third-quarter profit, but said performance for the remainder of its fiscal 2009 would be hurt by currency fluctuations.

Financial stocks were holding the spotlight.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that


(C) - Get Report

board, unhappy about the banking titan's recent results, was considering replacing its chairman, Sir Win Bischoff.

As for the automotive sector,


reported that the beleaguered

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

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was hitting a snag in its efforts to sell $4 billion in assets to raise its cash levels. Several lawmakers have begun discussing whether GM, along with


(F) - Get Report



, needs a government bailout.

In the technology arena, chipmaker


(INTC) - Get Report

cut its fourth-quarter revenue forecast on weakening demand.

Elsewhere among chipmakers,

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

announced a sharp decline in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and said it would eliminate 1,800 jobs next year.

German industrial conglomerate


(SI) - Get Report

, meanwhile, announced a widened quarterly loss on charges related to job cuts and money dedicated to costs stemming from a bribery investigation.

Looking at economic data, the Department of Labor reported that jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 8 came it at 516,000, above economists' estimates of 479,000 and breaking above 500,000 for the first time since 2001. The jobless figure from the previous week was also revised to 484,000 from 481,000.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau announced that the September trade balance registered a deficit of $56.5 billion, below analysts' forecast of $57 billion.

In commodities, crude oil was adding 47 cents to $56.63 a barrel. Gold was up 50 cents to $718.80 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were falling in price. The 10-year was down 1/32, yielding 3.74%, and the 30-year was losing 17/32 to yield 4.2%. The dollar was strengthening vs. the pound and yen, but softening against the euro.

Across the seas, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt traded lower. In


, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed with losses.