Barnes & Noble Soars Pre-Market on Report of Microsoft Nook Deal

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were indicating a lower open Thursday despite an encouraging labor market report, and after a report that Microsoft ( MSFT) may buy Nook Media LLC, its digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble ( BKS).

Barnes & Noble was soaring 27.3% to $22.68 in pre-market trading after TechCrunch reported that Microsoft is offering to buy Nook for $1 billion. TechCrunch cited internal documents obtained by the technology news site. Microsoft was dropping 0.8% in pre-market trading to $32.73.

Futures were falling in an apparent retreat that follows a flurry of buying activity during the prior session that brought investors in from the sidelines, attracted by strong corporate earnings and continued accommodative monetary policies.

"We set new records every day and when you get near the 1,630 area there's going to be some natural resistance," said JJ Kinahan, Chicago-based chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 1.5 points, or 1.34 points below fair value, to 1,627.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 7 points, or 3.12 points below fair value, to 15,055. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 6.5 points, or 6.94 points below fair value, to 2,955.25.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that weekly initial jobless claims dropped by 4,000 to 323,000 in the week ended May 4 from an upwardly-revised 327,000 the prior week. The four-week moving average on initial claims was 336,750, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's 343,000.

Continuing claims fell 27,000 to 3.005 million in the week ended April 27 from an upwardly-revised 3.032 million the preceding week.

Economists, on average, were expecting initial claims of 335,000 and continuing claims of 3.02 million.

At 10 a.m. EDT, the Census Bureau is predicted to say that wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in March after declining 0.3% in February.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR) was surging more than 17% to $69.60 in premarket trading after the company said fiscal second-quarter earnings jumped 42%, and it raised its earnings forecast for the full year. Green Mountain said sales of single-serve coffee packs rose 26% from a year earlier, offsetting a decrease in sales of Keurig brewing systems.

Revenue in the quarter rose 14% to $1 billion.

Groupon ( GRPN), the daily deals Web site, was jumping 12% to $6.26 after posting first-quarter revenue that exceeded forecasts . Groupon said revenue rose 8% to $601.4 million in the March-ended quarter from $559.3 million in the year-earlier period.

News Corp. ( NWSA) was rising 3.58% to $33 after posting first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates on double-digit increases for subscriber fees at its cable networks, including Fox News Channel. News Corp. reported on Wednesday adjusted earnings per share of 36 cents for the quarter ended in March, beating analysts' estimates of 35 cents a share. Sales also beat estimates.

Activision Blizzard ( ATVI) was slumping 5.64% to $14.40 after the video game publisher struck a cautious tone about the rest of the year as "World of Warcraft" results slow down and Nintendo, Microsoft ( MSFT), and Sony ( SNE) update their videogame consoles. The company beat first-quarter earnings and revenue estimates.

Overseas markets became more subdued after a spate of risk-on rallies. As expected, the Bank of England left its stimulus program at 375 billion pounds ($583 billion) and stood by its record-low benchmark interest rate of 0.5%. In China, data showed that consumer inflation rose more than expected in April.

The DAX in Germany was off 0.03% and the FTSE in London was flat. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down 0.66% while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index ticked down 0.14%.

June gold futures were down $2.70 to $1,471 an ounce. Light sweet crude oil for June delivery was off 50 cents to $96.12 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was gaining 8/32, diluting the yield to 1.787%. The dollar was up 0.01% to $81.91 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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