Futures Fall Following Data Deluge

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a lower open Thursday after weekly jobless claims showed only a modest drop and personal spending rose less than expected.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 9 points at 11,559 and were 10 points below fair value. Futures for the S&P 500 were 2 points lower at 1,259 and were nearly 2 points below fair value. Nasdaq futures were down 6 points at 2,236 and were trading 4 points below fair value.

Investors have a deluge of economic reports to digest Thursday, even as they wait for a shortened trading week to come to a close.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 3,000 last week to a seasonally-adjusted 420,000. Economists were expecting claims to rise by 4,000 to 424,000 , according to consensus estimates from Briefing.com. But the mild drop failed to impress investors.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said November personal incomes rose by a higher-than-expected 0.3%, while personal spending edged up 0.4%, slightly lower than the 0.5% predicted by economists.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 1.3% in November. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders showed a smart 2.4% jump, higher than the 0.8% economists were expecting.

At 9:55 a.m., the University of Michigan will release its final assessment of consumer sentiment for December. The reading is expected to come in at 74.8.

At 10 a.m, the National Association of Realtors is expected to say new home sales rose to 300,000 in November from 283,000.

Global stocks were trading steady on light volumes Thursday ahead of the Christmas break. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6%, while Japan's Nikkei closed lower by 0.2%.

In Europe, Ireland's Finance Minister announced plans to recapitalize Allied Irish Banks ( AIB) by $4.8 billion, effectively nationalizing the bank. Shares were down 15% in premarket trading at $1.09.

The FTSE in the U.K. was trading flat, while the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.1%.

The euro was last down by 0.2% against the dollar at $1.3067. The dollar was trading flat against basket of currencies, with the dollar index up 0.08% at $80.71.

Rio Tinto Group ( RIO) has reached terms on a bid implementation agreement to acquire Australia's Riversdale Mining for A$3.9 billion.

The all-cash offer values Riversdale shares at A$16 each, which represents a 46% premium to the weighted average price of Riversdale's stock from Nov. 3 to Dec. 3.

Rio Tinto shares fell 1.03%, or 73 cents, to $70.24 in premarket trading.

Rovi ( ROVI) agreed to buy Sonic Solutions ( SNIC) for $720 million in a stock and cash transaction in efforts to expand its digital entertainment offerings.

Sonic Solutions shares were climbing 24.68%, or $2.77, to $13.97 in premarket trading Thursday. Shares of Rovi were off by 0.4% at $58.35.

Bed Bath & Beyond ( BBBY) beat Wall Street earnings expectations for a ninth straight quarter on Wednesday. The diversified retailer reported a third-quarter profit of $188.6 million, or 74 cents a share, up from $151.3 million, or 58 cents a share, a year earlier, and well ahead of analysts' expectations of 66 cents a share.

Shares of Bed Bath jumped 8% to $51.49 in premarket trading.

Micron Technologies ( MU) reported first-quarter earnings of $155 million, or 15 cents a share, coming in well below the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for earnings of 28 cents a share.

Shares of the semiconductor manufacturer were down 2.4% to $8.08 in premarket trading Thursday.

Jo-Ann Stores ( JAS) is being taken private, with Leonard Green agreeing to purchase the crafts store for $1.6 billion, or $61 a share, a 34% premium over its closing price on Wednesday. Shares jumped 33% to $60.69.

In commodity markets, crude oil for February delivery was rising 2 cents to $90.50 a barrel. The February gold contract was falling by $4.70 to $1,382.70 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note was down 4/32, raising the yield to 3.362%.

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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