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Traders react in the Corn Options Pit at the CME group in Chicago July 11, 2012, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its crop production, ending stocks and world supply/demand forecast. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)
Traders react in the Corn Options Pit at the CME group in Chicago July 11, 2012, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated its crop production, ending stocks and world supply/demand forecast. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)

Premarket: Futures fall on gloomy economic picture Add to ...

U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday as the global economic picture remained bleak and minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicated more stimulus is unlikely in the near future.

* Investors will eye weekly initial jobless claims at 08:30 a.m. (ET) for clues on the health of the labor market, the first data point on the jobs picture since Friday’s disappointing payrolls report. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 372,000 new filings compared with 374,000 in the prior week.

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* Minutes from the central bank’s June meeting showed the U.S. Federal Reserve was open to the possibility of buying more bonds to stimulate the economy, but conditions might need to worsen for a consensus to build.

* The S&P 500 has dropped 2.4 per cent over the past five sessions as weak economic data compounded concerns the slowing global economy could dent corporate profits.

* Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, said late Wednesday second-quarter profit would be higher than the previous quarter as improved refining margins offset lower oil prices.

* Hotel operator Marriott International Inc reported a higher quarterly profit after the close on Wednesday but said it was seeing weakness in some international markets.

* S&P 500 futures fell 10.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 89 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 16.75 points.

* Other economic data includes import-export prices for June, also at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 1.7 per cent drop in imports and a 0.3 per cent decrease in exports.

* Supervalu Inc plunged 27.6 per cent to $3.83 in light premarket trade after the third-largest U.S. supermarket chain suspended its dividend and said it was mulling options for overhauling the firm including a sale.

* European shares fell on diminished hopes for more near-term stimulus following the release of the Fed minutes. The FTSEurofirst 300 was off 1.1 per cent.

* Asian shares slid as a surprise rate cut from South Korea and an unexpected drop in Australian employment deepened worries about global economic growth.

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