Initial jobless claims in the U.S. rose 13,000 to 462,000 in the week ending on October 9, a disappointing result which put U.S. equities investors in a nervous mood. Index futures were largely flat at the open, with Dow Jones Industrial Average Index futures down 4 points to 11,040 and S&P 500 index futures slipping 0.4 points to 1,173.90 at 9:02 a.m. EST.
Alongside the rising unemployment figures, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released data showing that the total goods and services trade deficit for the U.S. rose $700 million to $46.3 billion in August.
While consumption is down overall, the U.S. doesn't appear to be raising exports at a fast enough rate to compensate for everything it buys overseas.
Rumors of a Yahoo takeover, possibly by AOL, helped push up Nasdaq 100 index futures, which rose 0.5 points to 2,056.50.
Foreign equities did better; Mexican Bolsa de Valores futures gained 356 points to 34,917, while Brazil's Bovespa index futures climbed 1112 points to 73,110.
In Germany, DAX index futures jumped 29 points to 6,473.5, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures posted an impressive gain of 293 points to 23,874 at 4:15 a.m. EST.
Nikkei 225 index futures slipped 10 points to 9,560.
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