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U.S. stock-index futures were flat on Thursday as traders mulled jobs data that matched expectations and earnings from several big-name companies.
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As of 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 7 points to 15546, S&P 500 futures dipped 2.5 points to 1758 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 13.5 points to 3379.
The markets took a hit on Wednesday as investment banks worried that the Federal Reserve might start tapering its vast bond-buying program in December. Weighing in on the October statement, economist at Goldman Sachs said the central bank was "just a bit more hawkish" than expected.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 340,000 from 350,000 the week prior. Economists expected claims to fall to 339,000. The Labor Department said there were no backlog claims from a computer glitch in California that’s affected previous reports.
Reports on the labor market have taken on more significance in recent months since the Fed has said it is basing its policy decisions on data.
There is also a report at from the Chicago Federal Reserve on Midwestern manufacturing activity due out at 9:45 a.m. ET.
On the earnings front, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) posted third-quarter profits of $1.79 a share, beating estimates by two cents. Revenues of $112.4 billion also beat expectations of $107.4 billion. Shares of the world’s biggest publicly-traded energy company were little changed in pre-market trading.
Elsewhere, in commodities, U.S. crude oil prices fell 35 cents, or 0.36%, to $96.42 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.42% to $2.64 a gallon. Gold slid $21.60, or 1.6%, to $1,328 a troy ounce.