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Futures Mixed After Upbeat Jobless Claims

U.S. stock index futures turned mixed ahead of the open Wednesday after news of an unexpected drop in jobless claims and a narrowing of the trade deficit.

Investors were also focused on how the G20 meeting in Seoul later this week will affect currency prices.

Futures for the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq rose, while Dow futures slipped.

Initial claims for unemployment fell by 24,000 to 435,000from a revised 459,000 for the week ended Nov. 6, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 446,500, the lowest since September 2008. The news was a positive sign for jobs growth.

Also, import prices rose 0.9 percent in October, while export prices rose 0.8 percent, narrowing the trade deficit, as the weaker dollar gave a boost to U.S. exports.

Stocks closed lower in the previous session as the dollar gained after sovereign debt concerns dragged on the euro. Gold remained near record highs, above $1,400 per troy ounce, as investors sought the relative security of the asset, as the dollar also rose against a basket of currencies.

The debate over the impact of the Fed's quantitative easing would not be raised at the G20, according to one G20 official. But the summit is expected to produce an agreement on a more flexible foreign exchange policy.

A debate over currency markets has been raging all week after comments from World Bank President Robert Zoellick in the Financial Times were interpreted as a call for a return to the gold standard. Zoellick has since told CNBC that he is not in favor a gold-backed currency system, but a more international currency arrangement with less dollar weighting.

Mortgage loan applicationsfor both home loans and refinancings rose for the week ended Nov. 5, as interest rates remained at record lows, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. The MBA's seasonally adjusted index rose 5.8 percent.

European shares were lower across the board with mining and oil-related stocks leading the declines. Weak Chinese import data suggested that the commodity sector could be set to see softness. Asian indexes closed mostly lower, but the Nikkei 225 closed higher.

General Motors' third-quarter profit released Wednesday morning beat rivals Ford and Chrysler, which lost $84 million. The earnings report is expected to be GM's last before its initial public offering in November.

Macy's shares were slightly higher after the department store chain reported higher than expected sales, crediting its strategy of catering to local tastes as well as improved sales at its Bloomingdale's chain.

Also in company news,

Boeing

shares may struggle after 787 test flight was forced to make an emergency landing.

WEDNESDAY: Oil inventories, CFTC hearing on Dodd-Frank, 30-yr bond auction, Earnings from GM, Macy’s and Cisco.
THURSDAY: Veterans Day – Bond market closed, stocks and futures markets open, G20 mtg. begins, Earnings from Kohl’s, Disney and Nvidia.
FRIDAY: APEC CEO summit, Consumer sentiment, Earnings from DR Horton and JCPenney.

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