Stock Futures Waver After U.S. Data


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were wavering Thursday following reports on U.S. consumer prices and jobless claims.

Investors continued to keep a close eye on Europe, with investors worried that the June 17 Greek general elections could lead to the country's exit from the euro and trigger disorder across the eurozone.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3 points, or 3.6 points above fair value, at 12,426. Futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.8 points, or 0.3 points below fair value, at 1308, and futures for the Nasdaq 100 were down 3.5 points, or 2.6 points below fair value, at 2519.

Late Wednesday, rating agency Moody's downgraded Spain's debt rating to just a notch above junk territory -- pending a review for another potential downgrade -- citing the country's mounting debt burden, ailing economy, and challenges tapping into the capital markets.

The downgrade follows Spain's request for a €100 billion credit line from Europe to shore up its banking system.

The Spanish 10-year yield earlier Thursday breached the 7% level.

With Spanish contagion fears abounding and concerns that Italy will be the next eurozone country to request a bailout, Italy was able to raise its target €4.5 billion in a bond auction Thursday but at soaring borrowing costs.

The FTSE in London was falling 0.4% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.1%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled lower by 1.2% and Japan's Nikkei Average fell 0.2%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 5/32, raising the yield to 1.612%, while the dollar was trading sideways, according to the dollar index.

July crude oil futures were up 28 cents at $82.90 a barrel. August gold futures were up 2 cents to $1,621.40 an ounce.

The Labor Department on Thursday reported that U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ended June 9 rose to 386,000, up from the previous week's upwardly revised 380,000. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had predicted new filings of 375,000.

The four-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's 378,500.

Continuing claims for the week ended June 2 were 3.278 million, a decrease of 33,000 from the preceding week's 3.311 million.

The Labor Department also reported that the consumer price index fell 0.3% in May, matching expectations, with the core price index, excluding food and energy, rising 0.2%. Year over year, the CPI fell to 1.7% and the core CPI remained unchanged at 2.3%.

The Commerce Department, meanwhile, said that the first-quarter U.S. current account deficit increased to $137.3 billion.

In corporate news, Nokia ( NOK), the Finnish handset maker, plans to cut 10,000 jobs globally and close plants by the end of 2013 in an effort to save costs. Nokia said Thursday it plans to close its core manufacturing plant in Finland, and shut other research and development projects.

The company also said its second-quarter loss from its smartphones business would be larger than expected. Nokia said it would record additional restructuring charges by the end of next year of about €1 billion. Shares of Nokia dropped 8.6% in premarket trading Thursday to $2.55.

Smithfield Foods ( SFD) , the meat processor, reported fourth-quarter earnings Thursday of $79.5 million, or 49 cents a share, down from year-earlier earnings of $98.4 million, or 59 cents. Analysts, on average, expected the company to post quarterly earnings of 53 cents a share.

Sales rose 3% to $3.21 billion; analysts were forecasting sales of $3.26 billion.

Shares of Smithfield Foods fell 4.29% in premarket trading Thursday to $18.73.

United Technologies' ( UTX) said its board approved an increase of 11.5% to the company's quarterly dividend, increasing it to 53.5 cents a share.

Costco ( COST) announced Thursday that it was purchasing Controladora Comercial Mexicana's 50% stake in Costco de Mexico for about $760.4 million.


-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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