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Pre-Market Primer: Jobless Claims, GDP Disappoint

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This might ease fears of a Fed taper.

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Stock futures are heading up this morning after disappointing data about the US job market and economy came out.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 10,000 last week to 354,000. Economists expected claims to hover at 340,000. A second reading of US gross domestic product came in at 2.4%, a tenth of a point below the initial estimate.

This economic news was worse than expected, and might ease fears that the Federal Reserve will act on its plans to taper off its quantitative easing program as early this summer.

Following yesterday's losses, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.27% at 15,331 before the opening bell. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures gained 0.33% to 1,652.40 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures gained 0.25% to 3,003.00.

Japan gave investors a jolt overnight as the Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI.225) fell 5.2%. The index might rally on Friday however after Reuters reported that Japan's massive public pension fund, which is heavily weighted with government bonds, might move into stocks.

European stocks are higher today. A report released today showed that businesses' and individuals' economic sentiment rose in May. The index rose to 89.4 this month from 88.6 in April. Consumer confidence rose from -21.9 to -22.3 in April. Greece in particular showed a marked increase in confidence.

Brazil's central bank went against the global trend and tightened monetary policy. It raised benchmark rates to 8% from 7.5%.

Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) raised its offer for Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) to $4.40 per share in cash, a 26% premium to yesterday's closing price. Dish is in a bidding war with majority shareholder Sprint (NYSE:S), which previously offered $3.40 per share; shareholders were unhappy with this. Dish is also going after Sprint itself, hoping to wrest it from Softbank (TYO:9984), its Japanese suitor. Shares of Clearwire are up over 20% in pre-market trading.

Blackstone (NYSE:BX), the biggest outside investor in Steve Cohen's SAC Capital, is planning to withdraw $400 million from the heavily scrutinized hedge fund, according to the Wall Street Journal. The hedge fund manager is facing RICO charges for criminal insider trading.

Motorola Mobility (NASDAQ:GOOG) is likely to sell a smartphone called Moto X this fall which will be made in the United States. CEO Dennis Woodside revealed that the phone was in the works in an interview at the All Things D conference. This follows months of speculation about an "X Phone" coming out of Google's bleeding-edge labs. The phone will be built at a Flextronics (NASDAQ:FLEX) plant in Texas

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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