(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower opening on the Wall Street as investors weighed a set of downbeat economic data and corporate earnings reports.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures shed 11 points to 13,826. The Nasdaq futures lost 9.25 points to 2,726.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures lost 1.80 points to 1,493.50.
On the domestic economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits rose more than expected, a government data showed. Jobless claims increased 38,000 to 368,000 for the week ended Jan. 26 from a revised 330,000, while economists projected 350,000 applications.
December U.S. personal income and spending increased 2.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, a data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed. Economists expected a 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent increase in income and spending, respectively.
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The Labor Department said its employment cost index for the fourth quarter increased 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter versus 0.4 percent growth in the third quarter.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed in red after a data showed U.S. GDP shrank in the fourth quarter and the Federal Reserve said growth in economic activity paused in recent months. A report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed real gross domestic product unexpectedly fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter, while expectations were in for the growth of 1.1 percent.
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In corporate news, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) retreated 6.21 percent in premarket after the social-networking giant reported a 78.8 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to higher costs and expenses as well as a higher income tax provision.
United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) shed 1.51 percent in premarket after the company posted earnings below Wall Street expectations on Hurricane Sandy and weak macro environment.
Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) rose 3.76 percent in premarket after the New York-based payment processor posted better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong growth in card payments.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) lost 2.00 percent in premarket after the consumer products giant posted its quarterly results. Earnings topped Wall Street projections, though sales were slightly short of consensus.
Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) jumped 6.34 percent in premarket after the cell phone chip maker boosted its full-year outlook following stonger-than-forecast quarterly numbers amid healthy demand for smartphones.
Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) soared 16.54 percent in premarket after the network security services company's fourth-quarter profit topped market expectations.
JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) surged 13.06 percent in premarket after the maker of broadband products swung to a quarterly profit on higher revenues and improvement in margins.
Fusion-IO Inc. (NYSE: FIO) slumped 14.14 percent in premarket after the provider of datacenter services lowered its full-year sales guidance.
WMS Industries Inc. (NYSE: WMS) jumped 55.47 percent in premarket after Scientific Games Corp. (NASDAQ: SGMS) agreed to pay $26.00 a share or roughly $1.5 billion in cash to acquire the maker of video gaming machines.
European markets traded in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.42 percent to trade at 7,778.56. France's CAC40 fell 0.89 percent to trade at 3,732.53. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.56 percent to trade at 6,288.33.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 0.12 percent to close at 2,385.42. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.22 percent to finish at 11,138.66. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.39 percent to end at 23,729.53. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.55 percent lower at 19,894.98.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded 0.38 percent lower at $97.59 per barrel. Gold futures declined 0.55 percent to $1,672.40 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro lost 0.13 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3550, while the British pound rose 0.19 percent to 1.5831. The dollar lost 0.12 percent against the Japanese yen to 90.9700.