Futures Wobble as Jobless Pop Fizzles


Futures wavered Thursday as a quick pop after the surprise drop in jobless claims fizzled out.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 last week to 601,000. This comes after the May jobs report showed an unexpectedly small number of job losses.

Meanwhile, retail sales rose 0.5 percent in May, boosted by rising gasoline prices. April sales were revised to show a 0.2-percent drop, half the 0.4-percent decline initially reported.

Bond yields will also be in focus today as the results of the government's 30-year Treasury auction are due out at 1 pm ET.

Investors have become increasingly concerned about bond yields - as evidenced by the negative reaction to yesterday's 10-year note auction, which saw a higher than expected yield of 3.99 percent. At about 1 pm, we'll get the results of the latest 30-year bond auction, with investors once again paying close attention.

In company news, GlaxoSmithKline has begun cutting some of its drug prices in Asian in an effort to boost global sales by making its products more affordable. Shares gained more than 3 percent in premarket trading.

Smartphone maker Palm tapped former Apple executive Jon Rubenstein as its next chief executive officer, succeeding Ed Cooligan. Palm shares rose more than 3.75 percent premarket.

Japanese stocks were marginally lower overnight, though the Nikkei 225 did briefly break above the 10,000 mark for the first time since October. Ahead of the economic data, U.S. stock futures are pointing to a modestly higher open, while European stocks are trending higher at this hour.

Bank of AmericaCEO Kenneth Lewis will be testifying before the House Oversight Committee in the morning, amid controversy over how much pressure government officials did or didn't put on Lewis to complete the acquisition of Merrill Lynch late last year. Bank of America shares gained 2 percent premarket after KBW upgraded the company to outperform.

Elsewhere in financials, UBS said it does not see any additional layoffs, sending shares up nearly 4 percent premarket.

Other events of note include the weekly release of natural gas inventories at 10:30 am, and a speech on the economic outlook by Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart at 1:05 pm.

- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC, contributed to this report.