Futures Follow Euro Markets Lower on Drop in China Exports

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks futures followed European markets lower Thursday as weak export growth in China raised concerns about the outlook for global economic growth.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down by 30 points, or 70 points below fair value, at 11,386. Futures for the S&P 500 were losing 5 points, or 9 points below fair value, at 1194, and Nasdaq futures were off by 2 points, or 8 points below fair value.

Export growth in China slowed to its weakest pace in seven months in September. A Chinese minister noted trade challenges as the country allows the yuan to rise, as well as weaker demand from the European Union, which is grappling with a debt crisis.

Global investors have been feeling confident that eurozone leaders are serious about making good on promises to stabilize the region but weakness across European markets suggested some concern that European leaders will be able to work out key details ahead of an Oct. 23 summit.

On Wednesday, the European Commission detailed its plans to assess how much capital banks need, saying it will push for fresh reviews of eurozone banks utilizing higher capital ratios to see what would happen if banks were required to take bigger losses on their holdings of Greek bonds. The Commission said banks should first try to raise more capital from financial markets before approaching national governments and that the bailout fund should be used to recapitalize banks as a last resort.

Also on Wednesday, political parties in Slovakia announced that the country's parliament is expected to approve an expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility by Friday at the latest, making it the last vote needed to pass the July 21 agreement.

London's FTSE was shedding 0.8%, and Germany's DAX was declining by 1.3%. Overnight, Asian markets advanced. Japan's Nikkei Average closed 1% higher, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.3%.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims unexpectedly declined by 1,000 to 404,000 in the week ended Oct. 8, but the prior week's level of 401,000 was upwardly revised to 405,000 claims. Economists had been expecting an increase of 4,000 claims.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis said the international trade deficit widened to $45.6 billion in August, which was slightly narrower than the deficit of $45.8 billion that economists had been expecting. August's level is largely unchanged from July's revised level.

In earnings news, JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) soared past analysts' profit projections with third-quarter earnings of $1.02 a share compared with the profit of 91 cents a share that Wall Street had forecast. However, profits were down 22% in the third quarter. Revenue of $24.36 also exceeded expectations but declined 11% from the prior quarter.

Shares were losing 1.8% to $32.59 ahead of Thursday's opening bell.

Akamai Technologies ( AKAM) saw its stock jump 3.6% to $24.22 in early trading following a late Wednesday report in Business Insider that named the company a potential acquisition target for Google ( GOOG).

AOL ( AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong has been meeting with top shareholders to push the idea of a sale of Yahoo! ( YHOO), according to a Reuters report. Yahoo's stock was off by 1.7% at $$15.59 during premarket trading while shares of AOL were gaining 2.7% to $13.50.

In commodity markets, gold for December delivery was losing $11.60 to trade at $1,671 an ounce. The November crude oil contract was down by $1.43 at $84.14 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 8/32, diluting the yield to 2.183%. The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, was up 0.238%.

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