Stocks Poised for Mild Retreat as Jobless Claims Rise

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were slipping Thursday as weekly jobless claims rose and markets continued to digest the Federal Reserve's decision to trim the size of its economic stimulus program.

Futures for the S&P 500 were slipping 0.3% 1,806.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were dropping 0.6%, to 16,064 while Nasdaq futures were losing 0.4% to 3,495.75

The Fed announced Wednesday that it would start in January to scale back its monetary stimulus program to $75 billion a month in asset purchases. The central bank has been purchasing $85 billion -- $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in longer-term Treasuries -- and decided to reduce purchases of each of its asset-purchase categories by $5 billion.

The news fueled U.S. equities to all-time highs and to one of the best intraday performances for 2013.

Jobless claims rose by 10,000 to 379,000 for the week ended Dec. 14. Economists forecast claims to have risen 337,000 following the prior week's reading of 368,000 claims. Even as the Fed said it would reduce its asset-buying stimulus program, outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke said employment continues to be a concern.

At 10 a.m., markets are anticipating the Philadelphia Fed survey, which offers investors insight into general business conditions for November. Existing home sales for November emerge at the same time as economists expect sales to rise more than 5 million, following 5.12 million in October.

In company news, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other shareholders will sell 70 million shares, the company said in a statement. Shares of the social-networking giant were losing 4.8% to $52.92 in premarket trading.

Oracle (ORCL) posted second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts. The business software maker earned $2.55 billion, or 56 cents a share on $9.28 billion in revenue. Its adjusted profit was 69 cents a share, while analysts were looking for 67 cents a share. Shares of Oracle were gaining 2.7% to $35.52 in premarket action.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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