Futures on major U.S. indices point to a lower opening Thursday ahead of initial jobless claims and durable orders data.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.4 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures are down 0.5 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on initial jobless claims and durable orders data to be reported later Thursday. Initial jobless claims, which measure the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time during the past week, are expected to remain flat at 370,000 last week, indicating that the labor market is continuing to improve slowly.
A government report on durable goods orders, which measures the change in the total value of new orders for long-lasting manufactured goods, is expected to show a 0.5 percent gain with a increase in orders for primary metals, machinery and computers.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks slumped at the open and made a late recovery to finish flat as market sentiment was weighed down by the debt crisis threatening the euro zone. Market sentiment continued to be negative as European leaders, who met in Brussels Wednesday to discuss the situation in Greece, were unable to announce any concrete measures to improve the worsening debt crisis in the euro zone.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.05 percent, the S&P 500 Index dropped 0.17 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.39 percent. The informal summit of the European Union leaders, which was expected to lay the groundwork for an agreement on pro-growth measures to be announced at the next formal EU summit on June 28 and 29, ended without any specific announcement.
European stocks were mixed Thursday following the previous day's late recovery witnessed by U.S. stocks, even though concerns about the euro zone debt crisis persisted. London's FTSE 100 index was up by 18.20 points, Germany's DAX 30 declined by 13.39 points and France's CAC 40 was up by 13.96 points.
Asian markets were mixed Thursday as market sentiment was affected by falling manufacturing activity in China and increasing concerns about the debt crisis that's looming over the euro zone. According to the preliminary HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released Thursday, China's manufacturing activity fell to 48.7 in May, compared to 49.3 in April.
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