U.S. stock index futures rebounded Thursday amid growing hopes for stimulus from the Federal Reserve on the heels of several weak economic reports, but ongoing uncertainties in the euro zone kept a lid on gains.
Futures briefly dipped following news that weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rose 6,000to a seasonally adjusted 386,000 last week, according to the Labor Department, in an ongoing sign of weakness in the employment market. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims dipping to 375,000 last week.
Meanwhile, consumer prices dipped 0.3 percent in May, falling the most in over three years, according to the Labor Department. And the current account deficit widened more than expected to $137.3 billion in the first quarter, the largest gap since the end of 2008. Economists had expected the gap to widen to $132.3 billion, according to a Reuters poll.
In Europe, Moody's Investors Service cut its rating on Spanish government debtby three notches on Wednesday, from A-3 to to Baa-3, saying the newly approved euro zone plan to help the country's banks will increase the country's debt burden.
Moody's, which said it could lower Spain's rating further, also cited the Spanish government's "very limited'' access to international debt markets and the weakness of the country's economy. Moody’s also put Spain on review for a potential further downgrade which could occur within the next three months.
The downgrade put pressure on Spanish bond yields as investorssought greater reassurance to hold government debt. The yield on Spain’s 10- year government bond hit 7 percent for the first time following the downgrade.
It also put Italian bond yields under pressure on Thursdaycausing the country’s three-year borrowing costs to spike at 5.30 percent in an auction.
Most traders and investors have been hesitant to make big commitments ahead of Greece's elections on Sunday, which could lead to the debt-ridden nation's exit from the euro zone.
Sunoco is close to finalizing a deal to sell or form a joint venture with the Carlyle Group
Among earnings, Kroger rallied after the supermarket chain topped earnings.
But Smithfield Foods slumped after the meat processor reported weaker-than-expected results, due to lower margins in its fresh pork business and lackluster sales.
Embattled Finnish cellphone maker Nokia said it plans to cut another 10,000 jobs globally in its biggest revamp in recent history, while it warned the second-quarter loss from its cellphone business would be larger than expected.
—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: 30-yr bond auction, AOL shareholders mtg
FRIDAY: Empire state mfg survey, treasury int'l capital, industrial production, consumer sentiment, credit card default rates reported, quadruple witching
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