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Pre-Market: Jobless Claims Tick Higher; Google Splits Its Stock

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Eurozone PMI misses forecasts, but remains close to its four-year high.

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Stock futures pointed toward a flat open on Wednesday.

Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.01% to 16,489. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were down 0.02% to 1,882.60. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved lower, falling 0.06% to 3,656.00.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will execute its unconventional stock split today, which will create a third class of Google stock. The new non-voting C stock will be distributed to all existing holders of Google A stock. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will retain a majority of the company's non-public B stock, which gives them 55.7% of voting power. C shares will now trade under the ticker "GOOG," while A shares will trade under the symbol "GOOGL." The stock split is intended to give the company more cash for acquisitions. Pre-market shares of Google were up 0.52%

A busy day of economic indicators kicked off with initial jobless claims, which increased by 16,000 to 326,000 this week. The Challenger Job-Cut Report showed only 34,500 jobs were cut in March, the fewest first quarter cuts in 19 years. The US Payroll to Population employment rate in March showed a slight decrease from February, coming in at 42.7% versus 43.1%. The US trade deficit hit $42.3 billion in February from $39.3 billion in January, as exports of aircraft, computers, and farm goods fell and imports barely increased. 

At 9:00 a.m., the International Monetary Fund will releases its World Economic Outlook analytical chapters, which could look at how the Fed's decision to wind down its monetary stimulus will impact the global economy. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index and the US PMI Services Index both arrive at 9:45 a.m. The week's spat of PMI data will be rounded off at 11:00 a.m. with the Global Composite PMI and the Global Services PMI. At 4:30 p.m., the Federal Reserve will announce the money supply.

Asian stocks mostly gained overnight, as the Markit/HSBC Services PMI showed China's services sector moving further from contraction in March, clocking a 51.9 compared to February's 51.0. China also revealed a mini stimulus package that will see $24 billion in bonds spent on building railways and on urban infrastructure projects. Railway stocks rose in China after the announcement.

In Europe, stocks remained flat for the most part, with Spanish shares rising on strong services data in the country. Eurozone Markit Services PMI missed forecasts, falling to 52.20 from 52.60 a month prior. However it remained close to its highest level since March 2011. Services PMI slowed in England too, marking the slowest growth for the UK services sector in nine months. Despite a services slowdown, the eurozone's business sector saw its best quarter in three years in Q1 2014. The European Central Bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at its monthly meeting today.

In stock news, Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) is expected to release a trading update today, which could reveal further details of last week's announcement that the company would shutter 76 unprofitable stores by August. The move is part of plan to save the company $40-$50 million a year starting in its fiscal year 2015.

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into a $400 million fraud case involving Banamex, the Mexican extension of Citigroup (NYSE:C). Shares of Citigroup fell 0.68% in pre-market trading.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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