Updated from 7:58 a.m. EDT
Premarket futures were suggesting a negative open Thursday, as traders mulled economic reports that indicated a tough jobs market.
Futures for the
were down 4.2 points at 1271 and were 4 points short of fair value.
futures were lower by 7.8 points at 1827 and were 8.3 points below fair value.
On Wednesday, bulls failed to gain traction despite declines in the price of crude oil. Also, the
beige book indicated the economy would remain slow even as inflation fears subsided.
The new day's docket included a hefty serving of additional economic information. Automatic Data Processing's August employment figures showed private payrolls down 33,000, a slightly wider decline than estimates. The Department of Labor's jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 30 came in at 444,000, higher than expectations for 420,000 new claims.
The Labor Department's second-quarter productivity calculations registered at 4.3%, ahead of estimates of 3.5% and up from 2.2% in the first quarter. Due out later are the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing survey and weekly oil inventories from the Energy Information Administration.
Following the close of their respective rate meetings, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank both announced they would leave their key interest rates unchanged.
In company news, a slew of retailers reported same-store sales for August.
showed improved sales that beat estimates, while specialty retailers such as
reported declines in same-store stales.
faces difficulties as it tries to sell parts of its loan portfolio to Korea Asset Management Corp.
Also dealing with hard-to-value assets, insurance giant
is considering forming a new company to get rid of its mortgage-related securities, according to a report in
The New York Post
averted a strike by its largest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union had voted to strike after negotiations for a new three-year contract failed, but federal mediators brokered a 48-hour postponement of the walkout.
As to earnings, after the close Wednesday tax-services provider
announced a narrowed quarterly loss. Homebuilder
reported a loss that was wider than a year ago.
Fellow construction firm
likewise had bad news, swinging to a third-quarter loss on falling revenue stemming from the ongoing housing crisis.
Looking at commodities, crude oil was up 55 cents at $109.90 a barrel, and gold was gaining $6.30 at $814.50 an ounce.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasuries were edging higher. The 10-year was up 8/32, yielding 3.67%, and the 30-year was adding 10/32 to yield 4.3%. The dollar was gaining on the yen and the euro but slipping against the pound.
Major global exchanges, with the exception of the FTSE in London, were mostly trading lower.