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US Markets Lower after Declines in Asia and Europe

Bob Pisani is off; this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.

US stocks opened modestly lower Thursday, following weakness in Asia and Europe. A number of Asian markets closed down over 1 percent (Hong Kong down 2.0 percent, Thailand down 2.1 percent, Malaysia down 2.1 percent, South Korea down 1.8 percent, Singapore down 1.5 percent, Indonesia down 1.3 percent) as concerns of greater tightening in China persisted. (Market Update: Stocks Tumble, Led by Techs; Dollar Rallies )

Meanwhile, many European markets are lower today after the Bank of England left rates unchanged at 0.5 percent and fears about Portugal resurfaced. Credit spreads on Portugal’s bonds widened and the Portuguese stock markets fell 1.8 percent. Elsewhere, Spain falls 1.9 percent Greece drops 2.3%, Italy falls 1.3 percent.

The dollar is stronger today, and very quietly, the Dollar Index is right near a 2-week high. However, it still remains far off its highs hit back at the beginning January.

U.S. futures moved little after the government’s weekly jobless claims report at 8:30am ET. The government reported jobless claims fell 36,000 in the latest week to 383,000, its lowest level since July 2008. Last week’s decline was far greater than the 4,000 drop economists had expected.

Elsewhere:

1) Sprint rises 3 percent despite posting a slightly wider than expected loss (loss of $0.31 vs. loss of $0.29 consensus). The stock is jumping though on the wireless phone carrier’s first subscriber gain in over 3 years.

2) Goodyear Tire rises 5 percent after posting a surprising profit ($0.07 vs. loss of $0.07 consensus). The tire maker’s volumes rose 4 percent, but saw surging raw materials costs weigh on its bottom line. Looking ahead, the company expects raw materials costs to rise 25%-30% this quarter.

3) PepsiCo falls 1 percent despite beating estimates by a penny. Food volumes rose 2 percent, while beverage volumes rose 14 percent. The problem: the beverage and food company cut its earnings growth forecast for a second time. It now sees earnings growth 7 percent-8 percent, down from its prior growth forecast of 11 percent-12 percent.

4) Molson Coors falls 3 percent after missing estimates ($0.66 vs. $0.69 consensus) on a 2 percent drop in volumes.

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