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Premarket futures were hinting at a lower 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 down 5.5 points at 848 and were 2.7 below fair value.


futures were down 18 points at 1146 and were 20 short of fair value.

On Wednesday, stocks got pummeled as


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 Walmart Inc. Report

reported a rise in third-quarter profit, but lowered its earnings guidance for fiscal 2009.

As for the automotive sector,


reported that staggering automaker

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General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

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


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, needs a government bailout.

In the technology arena, chipmaker


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cut its fourth-quarter revenue forecast on weakening demand.

Elsewhere among chipmakers,

Applied Materials

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

German industrial conglomerate


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, meanwhile, announced a 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's jobless claims figures for the week ended Nov. 8 are due for release. The Census Bureau also is expected to roll out its trade balance report for September.

In commodities, crude oil was down 30 cents to $55.86. Gold was losing $6.70 to $711.60 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were mixed. The 10-year was gaining 8/32 to yield 3.7%, and the 30-year ticked down 2/32, yielding 4.17%. The dollar was strengthening vs. the euro, yen and pound.

Across the seas, European exchanges, including the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt, were trading lower. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed with losses.