Futures were flat after mixed earnings and a sharp increase in initial jobless claims.
After the week before last week's initial jobless claims fell to 339,000, economists expected a massive uptick in last week's claims numbers. The Department of labor reported that 388,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week. The four week moving average, a less volatile measure, rose to 365,000.
Before the opening bell, Dow
(INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures ticked up 0.04% to 13,494.00. S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) futures fell 0.10% to 1,455.70, and Nasdaq
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures dropped 0.20% to 2,765.00.
(NYSE:MS) became the latest major national bank to beat on earnings. The bank pulled a profit of $0.28 per share, beating estimates of $0.25. Value at risk ("VAR") fell to $63 million from $76 million in the second quarter.
(NYSE:PM) shares fell after the tobacco company's earnings trailed estimates. Revenue in all regions was hit by lower sales volumes and unfavorable currency movements.
(NYSE:VZ), the nation's biggest telecom, saw profits jump by 15.5% to $0.64 per share on price increases. The release of Apple's
(NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 brought 1.8 million new subscribers to the carrier.
After the closing bell today, Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) will both report earnings, showing the two companies' diverging situations. The second quarter saw Microsoft -- which just announced the pricing of the Surface, the tablet computer that Redmond is pinning its hopes on to compete with Apple in mobile -- swing to its only loss since going public. For the September quarter, analysts are calling for earnings of $0.56 per share.
Analysts are also getting increasingly bearish on Google. Wall Street is expecting earnings of $8.61 per share, up just 3.4% from last year.
China's economy is officially slowing. After growing 7.6% in the second quarter, the country grew by just 7.4% in the third. This seventh straight quarter of deceleration came right in line with estimates. For the first three quarters, GDP is 7.7% higher than the same period in 2011. Consumer and manufacturing data improved in the last month of the quarter, however. September retail sales increased by 14.2% over last year, and industrial production increased by 9.2%.
The European Union Summit begins today in Brussels against a backdrop of street demonstrations protesting austerity. Europe's leaders will be speaking about the youth unemployment crisis and integration of the counties' banking systems and fiscal budgets. Meanwhile, in Athens, unions shut down the city with strikes and protests over the country's situation.
Spanish bad bank loans hit a new record in August. A total of 10.5% of all loans held by the country's banks are in arrears, up from 9.9% in July. The country did just have a successful bond auction, however, largely thanks to the increasing likelihood that Spain will apply for aid. Spain sold 1.51 billion euros of 10-year debt at an average yield of 5.468%.
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