US stock index futures point to weaker open

Markets Associated Press

U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday after mixed news about the economy and a batch of corporate earnings.

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KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures slipped 33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,024 as of 8:54 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,967. Nasdaq 100 futures lost 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,909.

MIXED PICTURE: Government reports showed a mixed picture for the economy. While the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, home construction fell in June to the slowest pace in nine months, a setback to hopes that housing will boost economic growth.

MICROSOFT LAYOFFS: Microsoft said early Thursday it will eliminate up to 18,000 jobs over the next year as it works to integrate the Nokia business it bought in April. The company has about 127,000 employees now. Microsoft's stock jumped $1.27, or 3 percent, to $45.35 in premarket trading.

BANK WIN: Morgan Stanley's quarterly profit more than doubled, thanks to strong results from its investment banking and money-management units. Its stock rose 40 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $32.90 in premarket trading.

EUROPE AND ASIA: Global stock markets were lower. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent and the CAC-40 in France slipped 0.8 percent. Germany's DAX eased 0.7 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 edged down 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat and China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.6 percent.

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BONDS AND OIL: Bond prices rose in the market for U.S. Treasurys. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.51 percent from 2.53 percent late Wednesday. Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery jumped $1.73 to $102.93 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.