RTTNews - Following a tame rally in the previous session, stocks are poised to open sharply lower on Thursday as traders digest a disheartening set of employment figures. The major index futures are all in negative territory, with Dow futures down by 118 points.
Trader pessimism was heightened by the Labor Department's monthly employment report, which showed that employment fell by much more than expected in the month of June, pushing the unemployment rate up to a new twenty-five year high.
The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 467,000 jobs in June following a revised decrease of 322,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a decrease of about 365,000 jobs compared to the loss of 345,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
With the bigger than expected decrease in employment, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. The increase lifted the unemployment rate to its highest level since August of 1983, although it was below economist estimates of 9.6 percent.
Also on tap is the factory goods orders report from the Commerce Department, which is due out at 10 a.m. ET. Economists estimate a rise in orders after durable goods orders, which account for the bulk of the factory goods orders, showed a strong performance in May. The forecast calls for a 0.9 percent increase in May compared to a 0.7 increase in April.
On the corporate front, healthcare company Myriad Genetics (MYGN) said after the markets closed that it has successfully completed the spin-off of Myriad Pharmaceuticals (MYRX) and would now operate as two independent companies.
Also after yesterday's close, Discovery Laboratories (DSCO) stated that it is unlikely to satisfy the FDA requirement for Surfaxin for the prevention of Respiratory Distress Syndrome in premature infants.
Meanwhile, Boeing (BA) is reportedly in negotiations to purchase operations from one of its main suppliers, part of an effort to gain more control over the supply chain of its troubled 787 Dreamliner program.
Auto-parts supplier Lear Corporation (LEA) said that it has reached an agreement with lenders to restructure its debt and said it plans to file for Chapter 11 protection soon. In addition, the company said it had obtained $500 million in bankruptcy financing.
In other news, Walgreen Co. (WAG) said that its comparable store sales for the month of June increased 3.4 percent. Sales for the month were $5.24 billion, up 9.0 percent from $4.80 billion for the same month in 2008.
After moving sharply higher in morning trading on Wednesday, stocks were unable to hold onto their strong gains, steadily ceding ground over the course of the session. Nonetheless, the Dow closed up by 57 points at 8,504, the Nasdaq rose by 11 points to 1,846 and the S&P 500 advanced by 4 points to 923.
Crude oil futures are moving lower in early commodities trading, falling by $1.17 to $68.14 a barrel after ending the previous session down $0.58 at $69.31 a barrel. The price of gold is also declining, dropping by $8.80 to $932.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is climbing against the major European currencies, rising against the euro to $1.4021 while advancing to $1.6365 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar is down against the yen, moving to 96.43 yen.
The move comes amid reaction to the European Central Bank's decision to leave its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1 percent for the second straight month, in addition to the day's uninspiring jobs report.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday's session mostly lower. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed down by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped by 1.1 percent.
The major European markets are also moving to the downside, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index down by 1.5 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is also retreating, showing a decline of 0.9 percent.
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