Stock index futures held onto their gains Thursday after a report showed initial jobless claims dropped more than expected last week.
Dow 30: Extra-Hour Quotes
With the July employment report only a day away, investors watched the weekly jobless report closely.
The report showed initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 38,000 last week, much more than expected. The total number of people on unemployment benefits continued to rise, indicating that new layoffs are tapering off but job creation hasn't started to pick up yet.
This came after a pair of disappointing employment reports yesterday: ADP said 371,000 jobs were cutfrom private-sector payrolls in July, more than the 335,000-loss expected. And Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that planned job cuts jumped 31 percent last month.
As for Friday's report from the government, economists expect it to show 320,000 jobs were dropped from nonfarm payrolls in July, following a loss of 467,000 in June.
In earnings news, Ciscobeat earnings expectations after the bell Wednesday and said business conditions were improving, but CEO John Chambers also said it's too soon to call a recovery. That comment helped pressure shares of the Dow component after hours.
The volume of earnings reports continues to dwindle, but we will see quarterly numbers this morning from Blackstone Group , Comcast , DirecTV, El Paso, King Pharmaceuticals, Nasdaq OMX , and Wendy's/Arby's Group .
After the bell, we'll hear from CBS , Nvidia, and VeriSign, among others.
The Senate will most likely vote today to give $2 billion more to the popular "Cash For Clunkers" program, after a deal was reached yesterday between Democrats and Republicans.
THURSDAY: Chain-store sales; Earnings from Sirius XM, Unilever
FRIDAY: July jobs report; consumer credit; Earnings from Liberty Media
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