Stocks were set to open lower on Thursday as earnings from JPMorgan and soft economic data in China highlighted worries about a slowing global economy, giving investors reason to pause after the recent run-up.

JPMorgan Chase & Co slipped 2 percent to $32.55 in premarket after the first major U.S. bank to announced third-quarter earnings fell 4 percent as the European debt crisis pushed investment banking clients to the sidelines.

China's trade surplus narrowed for a second straight month in September, as both imports and exports were lower than expected, reflecting global economic weakness and domestic cooling.

(JPMorgan) is kind of a lead into earnings, a little bit better than expected, but it really wasn't a knock your socks off number either, so it's not going to sway the market too much, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

You probably are seeing a little bit of profit taking, but nothing too dramatic.

The S&P 500 is up about 12 percent from its intraday low hit last week on Tuesday and had its largest seven-day rally since March 2009.

S&P 500 futures fell 3.7 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures shed 21 points, but Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.5 point.

Economic data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits dipped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 404,000, the Labor Department said, from an upwardly revised 405,000 the prior week. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 405,000 from the previously reported 401,000.

The Commerce Department said the U.S. trade gap for August totaled $45.61 billion, down slightly from a revised $45.63 billion in July. Analysts had expected the deficit to widen to $45.8 billion in August.

Google is reporting third-quarter earnings after the close and investors will be looking to see how the slowing economy is impacting its advertising business.

A report on Wednesday that Akamai Technologies Inc was close to being acquired by Google has no merit, a person familiar with the matter said. Akami shares were up 3.6 percent to $24.20 in premarket trade.

The CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong has been pushing the idea of a sale to Yahoo to top shareholders, which could see the company save $1.5 billion, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions. AOL advanced 4.3 percent to $13.72 and Yahoo shed 0.4 percent to $15.71 in premarket.

Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp , has agreed to buy Rolls-Royce Holding's share of the International Aero Engines consortium in a $1.5 billion deal.

Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter, that DuPont Co is seeking buyers for its polyester-film joint venture as well as its powder-based paint business.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)