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Pre-Market Primer: Jobless Claims Fall; South Korea Cuts Rates


Nokia aims for the smartphone market in India.

As positive US emploment data comes in, stocks are set to tick down from yesterday's all-time highs.

Jobless claims unexpectedly fell again last week. A total of 323,000 people filed for unemployment last week, down 4,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised number. Economists expected to see claims rise to 335,000.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.07% at 15,051 after closing at another record high on Wednesday. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) also hit a record close last night and this morning, futures slipped 0.11% to 1,626.90. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures fell 0.19% to 2,956.25.

China reported that consumer prices rose 2.4% on a yearly basis in April up from 2.1% in March. The price rise was driven by higher food costs. Higher Chinese inflation could lead to less accommodative policies from Beijing.

The Bank of England kept rates frozen at 0.5% today. Britain's industrial output beat forecasts, rising 0.7% on a monthly basis in March.

Greece's unemployment came in better than expected, but still horrible. Twenty-seven percent of Greeks were unemployed in February and January's rate was revised down to 26.7% from 27.2%. Portugal also released jobless figures, reporting 17.7% unemployment in the first quarter, up from 16.9% in the last three months of 2012.

South Korea became the latest country to cut interest rates as the country tries to fight the effect of Japan's Abenomics in on its exports. The bank cut rates 25 basis points to 2.5%.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares rose 11.5% after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings. In its first earnings report since sacking Andrew Mason, Groupon revenue rose 8% year-over-year. Excluding one-time items, earnings came in at $0.03 per share.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) reported its first-ever quarterly profit yesterday. Earnings per share rose to $0.12, three times analyst estimates. Revenue clocked in at $562 million. Shares rose 21.7% after hours, much to the dismay of the large short sellers holding the stock.

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) unveiled a $99 full-featured smartphone for the Indian market today. The phone will run the Asha software platform. India was Nokia's second biggest market in 2012 after China, but the company faces competition from low-priced Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) phones.

Finance ministers of the G7 countries meet on Friday and Saturday in London to discuss banking regulation to prevent the next Cyprus-style meltdown.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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