(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a flat opening on the Wall Street, weighed by a lower-than-expected GDP data.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 2 points to 14,062. The Nasdaq futures rose 4.75 points to 2,742.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures added 1.40 points to 1,517.
A report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed U.S. GDP grew at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter from a contraction of 0.1 percent initially estimated last month. Expectations, though, were for a growth of 0.5 percent. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits dropped more than forecast last week, a government data showed. Jobless claims declined 22,000 to 344,000 for the week ended Feb. 23 from a revised 366,000, while economists projected 360,000 applications.
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Meanwhile, Chicago-area purchasing managers' index for January is due for release at 9:45 am ET, with expectations of a reading of 54.3.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed on a sharply higher note, up more than 1 percent, buoyed by a set of better-than-expected data on pending home sales and durable goods orders.
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Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) shed 3.88 percent in premarket after the department store chain guided first-quarter and full-year earnings below consensus. The company posted a 17 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings as margins fell sharply.
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J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) tumbled 17.30 percent in premarket after the department store chain posted a quarterly loss as sales plunged and margins contracted sharply.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) plunged 26.95 percent in premarket after the daily deal website posted a quarterly loss and gave a downbeat revenue forecast.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) gained 2.32 percent in premarket after the retailer announced fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped market expectations, helped by improvement in margins.
Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) stumbled 7.69 percent in premarket after the rare earth oxide (REO) producer delayed its 10-K filing over an impairment charge to be recorded for the fourth quarter.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR) added 2.13 percent in premarket after the maker of firearms posted better-than-expected earnings on strong demand.
Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) shed 2.82 percent in premarket after the bookstore chain posted a quarterly loss amid lower sales and NOOK inventory charges.
European markets traded in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.59 percent to trade at 7,721.10. France's CAC40 added 0.09 percent to trade at 3,694.94. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.28 percent to trade at 6,344.24.
Among Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.26 percent to end at $2,365.59. Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 2.71 percent to end at 11,559.36. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 1.96 percent to close at 23,020.27. India's Sensex closed at 18,861.54, down 1.52 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded 0.09 percent higher at $92.68 per barrel. Gold futures retreated 0.33 percent to $1,5980.80 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro slid 0.11 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3125, while the British pound added 0.29 percent to 1.5203. The dollar inched up 0.01 percent against the Japanese yen at 92.2500.