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Futures Turn Negative Following Jobs Number

Futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street after weekly jobless claims came in higher than expected.

The Fed also said it would maintain its government and mortgage debt purchasing program and kept its interest rates near zero.

The weekly jobless number jumped to 627,000, higher than the expected 600,000 and indicative that the unemployment burden continues to pressure the economy.

In corporate news, sports apparel retailer Nikeposted a surprise increase in profit after the closing bell, beating expectations. But its shares fell 2.7 percent in premarket trading as it said forward orders fell 12 percent.

Bank of America's stock could get hit by Citigroup's price-target downgrade for the bank as it expects BofA to report a profit loss for the second quarter.

BofA will also be under scrutiny after Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., alleged in a statement on Wednesday that the Fed "engaged in a cover-up," deliberately hiding concerns about the merger of the bank with Merrill Lynch from other regulators.

American International Group said it will cut its federal loan burden by $25 billion by giving the government a preferred stake in two units that will be spun off from the insurance giant. Shares gained more than 2 percent premarket on the news.

In housing, home builder Lennar posted a quarterly loss of $125.2 million, or 76 cents a share, a bit larger than expected considering a slight uptick recently in new home sales. Shares fell more than 2 percent premarket.

Also in earnings, rental car giant Hertz surprised the market by posting a 2009 profit and its CEO told CNBC that it was buying new cars as fast as it could to meet surging demand. Shares gained more than 11 percent premarket.

Another big gainer early on was Jefferies Group , after the investment bank posted earnings and outlook that beat expectations. Jeffries shares rose more than 13 percent premarket.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will appear before the House Oversight Committee to testify on his role in the merger.

The results of the Treasury's auction of 7-year notes will be out after 1 pm New York time. Demand for 2-year and 5-year notes was strong the past two days, as the Treasury sets a record by selling $104 billion dollars in debt this week.

The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on affordable housing, and the House Budget Committee holds a 10 am hearing on "pay go."

On the economic calendar, the final revision of first quarter Gross Domestic Product is out at 8:30 am New York time, with economists looking the U.S. economy to have shrunk at a 5.7% annual rate during the quarter.

At the same time, the Labor Department will issue its weekly report on first time claims for jobless benefits, expected to drop to 602,000 this week from last week's reading of 608,000.

A hearing in the General Motors bankruptcy case Thursday could provide some insight into General Motors' finances and its efforts to exit bankruptcy.

Yahoo holds its shareholders meeting in Santa Clara, Cal. at 1 pm New York time.

Food producer ConAgra will report earnings before the opening bell, while Micron Technology and Palm both report after the closing bell.

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AFF
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BAC
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C
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CAG
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HTZ
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JEF
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LEN
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MU
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NKE
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YHOO
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