The U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open Thursday ahead of the Department of Labor's weekly jobless claims data.
The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.07 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.10 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were down 0.08 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on the U.S. weekly jobless claims data, to be reported Thursday. The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is expected to fall to 360,000 in the week ending Feb. 2, down from 368,000 in the previous week.
Investors will continue to focus on the earnings reports with Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE:CCE), Exelon Corp. (NYSE:EXC), The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT), Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE:LNKD) and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR) expected to announce their quarterly results Thursday.
On Wednesday, the U.S. stocks remained flat as investors maintained caution amid the continuing concern about the debt crisis faced by the euro zone. The political developments in Italy and Spain are increasing pressure on the euro currency, which continued to rise against the Japanese Yen.
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In Italy, the popularity of Silvio Berlusconi, who is firmly in support of anti- austerity campaign, continued to rise ahead of the general elections this month, which has raised more concerns among the market participants.
In Spain, corruption allegation continued to put the government led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at risk.
Meanwhile, Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX) reported Wednesday that the company’s net income rose to $1.17 billion in the fourth quarter, from $0.94 billion in the same period the earlier year. Visa Inc (NYSE: V) reported that the company’s net income rose to $1.30 billion in the first quarter, from $1 billion in the same period the earlier year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.05 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.05 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.10 percent.
European markets were mixed Thursday with London's FTSE 100 moving down 4.98 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rising 1.39 points and France's CAC 40 gaining 4.21 points.
Asian stocks fell Thursday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declining 93.47 points, Japan’s Nikkei moved down 106.68 points and India’s Sensex dropping 71.85 points. Meanwhile, Japan’s core machinery orders posted a better-than-expected rise in December compared to that in the earlier month. According to the data released by the Cabinet Office Thursday, Japan’s core machinery orders rose to 2.8 percent in December following a 3.9 percent rise in November.