Stocks: Investors await EU summit
CNN — U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as investors keep an eye on Europe and await the latest round of corporate results, as well as the government's weekly data on initial jobless claims.
Investors will be on the lookout for any news out of a summit of European leaders convened to discuss closer ties between eurozone countries. Leaders are meeting Thursday and Friday to discuss proposed reforms of the banking sector and more integrated budget policies.
European stocks were mixed in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.2% and the DAX in Germany added 0.3%, while France's CAC 40 slid 0.1%.
Meanwhile, it's more bad news for China after an inflation report showed growth slowed last quarter to its lowest level since early 2009.
China's economy grew 7.4% in the third quarter compared to the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday, marking a deceleration from an 7.6% growth rate in the prior quarter.
Asian markets still managed to close higher. The Shanghai Composite climbed 1.2%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.5%, and Japan's Nikkei rose 2%.
In the United States, companies including Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Nokia and Blackstone are set to report Thursday morning, while Microsoft and Google are up after the bell.
Morgan Stanley is expected to post earnings of 24 cents a share on $6.4 billion in revenue, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters. Verizon is forecast to post earnings of 64 cents a share on $29 billion in revenue.
Overall, S&P Capital IQ projects that third-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 will decline 0.7%, the weakest showing in three years.
Investors will get another pulse on the job market with initial jobless claims for the week ended October 13, due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Jobless claims are expected to total 360,000, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com -- up from 339,000 in the week prior.
Then at 10 a.m. ET, the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve will release the October edition of its business outlook survey.
U.S. stocks closed little changed Wednesday, as investors took in new housing data and another batch of corporate earnings.
Companies: American Express shares fell in after-hours trading Wednesday after the company reported earnings that were in line with expectations.
Currencies and commodities: The dollar slipped against the euro and the British pound, but rose against the Japanese yen.
Oil for November delivery rose 2 cents to $92.14 a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery slid $4.30 to $1,748.70 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury edged higher, pushing the yield down to 1.80% from 1.81% late Wednesday.
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