Stock futures slid deeper into the red Thursday after a report showed more jobs were lost last month than expected.
- Dow 30: Extra-Hours Quotes
- Pre-Markets/Futures Data
This came after stocks got the second half off to a positive start, with the Dow gaining 0.7 percent on Wednesday.
All U.S. financial markets will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.
Employers slashed 467,000 jobsfrom nonfarm payrolls in June and the unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent to 9.5 percent. Economists had expected a much smaller job loss of 365,000 but a slightly higher unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.
Initial jobless claims fell by 16,000 last week to 614,000.
Still to come: a report on May factory orders is due out at 10 a.m. ET; economists expect a 0.5-percent rise.
Investors will also be looking to Washington as the Treasury Department is expected to name as many as nine fund managersto operate the long-awaited Public-Private Investment Program to cleanse banks of toxic assets.
Automakers will be in focus after the June sales reports.
Ford reported its U.S. sales fell 10.9 percentin June, near the top of expectations, and surpassed Toyota as the No. 2 automaker.
General Motors reported its sales dropped 33.6 percent, while Chrysler's plunged 44.2 percent. Toyota and Honda both logged declines of about 30 percent.
In the pharmaceutical sector, Johnson & Johnson is going to invest $1 billion in Elan for an 18.4 percent stake in the Irish drug maker.
And Boeing is in talks to buy operations of one of its main suppliers of parts for the 787 Dreamliner, in an attempt to gain more control over production, the Wall Street Journal reported.
AIG will again be in focus. Shares tumbled more than 20 percent Wednesday after a notice of the stock's suspension and delisting was erroneously posted for three hours on the NYSE site.
Telecomms are in focus as Spanish firm Telefonica is considering a bid for T-Mobile UK unit of Deutsche Telekom . If it chooses to do so, Telefonica would be in competition with Vodafone, which saw its New York Stock Exchange shares fall about 2 percent in premarket trading. Deutsche Telekom shares edged higher.
Harmony Gold Mining shares fell nearly 6 percent in active premarket trading after the company said output likely rose 3 percent in the third quarter but total operating costs were 8 percent higher than the previous quarter..
The European Central Bank left its key rate unchanged at a record low 1 percent, in line with expectations.
With the shortened week coming to a close, the Nasdaq is continuing to outperform — the Nasdaq Composite is on pace for its 15th weekly gain in 17 weeks and is up 17 percent for 2009.
- Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.