US Markets

Futures remain unchanged after jobless claims report

U.S. stock index futures continued to hover around the flatline Thursday following a weaker-than-expected jobless claims report ahead of the government's non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

Weekly jobless claims gained more than expected last week, increasing 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 317,000.

Meanwhile, U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened 7.7 percent to $42.3 billion in February, according to the Commerce Department as exports fell to their lowest level in five months, further signs economic growth slowed in the first quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade deficit falling to $38.5 billion.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing index for March will be reported at 10 am ET. The index, which tracks changes in the services sector, unexpectedly fell in February, and analysts at Barclays are expecting a rebound to 52.5 for last month.

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Thursday will be a quiet day for earnings, with just RPM International posting early in the day.

Citigroup shares will also be worth an eye, after the New York Times reported that U.S. authorities had launched a criminal investigation into a $400 million fraud involving the bank's Mexican unit. The stock was off about 0.5 percent in premarket trading.

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JPMorgan won't face backlash: Russia Econ Min

Google's split between Class A and C shares takes effect Thursday. The old Google shares now known as Google Class A under the ticker symbol "GOOGL," and new Google Class C shares are taking on the old "GOOG" symbol.

Electric car maker Tesla will appeal New Jersey's ruling that prevents it from selling cars directly to consumers.

Meanwhile, Russia's economy minister, Alexey Ulyukaev, told CNBC that JPMorgan will not face retaliation after it refused to process a payment by the Russian embassy.

"We will not press the companies about something they were doing by some political pressure," Ulyukaev said. "I do not think we have to freeze any kind of relationships."

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank, as expected, left its key interest rate unchanged.

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