Wall St futures point to weaker open; focus on data

* Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average (DJc1: ), the
S&P 500 (SPc1: ) and the Nasdaq 100 (NDc1: ) fall 0.5 to 0.6
percent, pointing to a weaker start on Wall Street on Thursday.

* Labor Department releases at 1330 GMT first-time claims
for jobless benefits for the week ended Jan. 30. Economists in a
Reuters survey forecast a total of 460,000 new filings compared
with 470,000 in the prior week. The figures are seen as a
precursor to the key monthly non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

* Commerce Department releases December factory orders at
1500 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a rise of 0.5
percent compared with a 0.6 percent rise in the prior month.

* China dismissed on Thursday U.S. threats it would get
tough with Beijing on trade and currency to ensure American
goods did not face a competitive disadvantage, saying its yuan
currency was at a reasonable level. [ID:nTOE61205X]

* Struggling U.S. jewellery chain Zale Corp (ZLC.N: ) is
seeking to sell some of its inventory to its vendors to raise
cash, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a company document
and people familiar with the matter. [ID:nSGE61305P]

* With a nervous eye on the November congressional
elections, U.S. Senate Democrats will unveil tax credits and
other proposals on Thursday that aim to bring down the nation’s
double-digit unemployment rate. [ID:nN03189806]

* At 1330 GMT, preliminary fourth quarter Productivity and
Unit Labor Costs numbers will be released. Economists forecast a
rise of 6.0 percent versus a rise of 8.1 percent in the third
quarter. Unit Labor Costs are seen falling 2.5 percent,
unchanged from the third quarter report.

* ICSC releases chain store sales for January versus a year
ago. No set time. In the previous month, sales rose 2.8 percent
versus a year ago.

* MasterCard (MA: ), the world’s second-largest credit card
network, is likely to report a big gain in earnings, boosted
by an increase in processed transactions and price increases
despite an expected drop in U.S. credit card purchase volume.

* Fourth-quarter results from Moody’s (MCO: ) are expected to
show a slight improvement over the year-earlier quarter as
credit issuance picked up, boosting its ratings business.

* Other companies announcing results include Cigna (CI: ),
Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO: ) and Avon (AVP: ).

* Kraft Foods (KFT.N: ) is planning to sell a minimum of $4
billion in bonds in four parts on Thursday to help finance its
$18.7 billion acquisition of British chocolatier Cadbury, IFR
said on Wednesday. [ID:nN03146229]

* Oil (CLc1: ) fell 0.8 percent to trade below $77 a barrel as
rising crude inventories in the U.S. signalled that a rebound in
U.S. economic activity was failing to translate into higher
demand.

* Shares of Visa Inc (V.N: ) rose 1.8 percent to $85.00 in
extended trade on Wednesday after the company reported quarterly
results. [ID:nWNAB2637]

* Shares of Cisco Systems (CSCO.O: ) rose 1.9 percent after
the bell on Wednesday as the company reported results.

* European shares fell 1 percent ahead of interest rate
decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England
later on Thursday.

* Japan’s Nikkei average (.N225: ) lost 0.5 percent on
Thursday, with Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ) sliding further on its
recall woes and Sharp Corp (6753.T: ) tumbling after reporting a
smaller-than-expected quarterly profit.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) mostly fell on Wednesday as Pfizer’s (PFE.N: )
disappointing outlook weighed on the health sector, and
President Barack Obama’s pledge to complete banking and
healthcare reforms revived fears of increased regulation.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) slipped 26.30
points, or 0.26 percent, to end at 10,270.55. The Standard &
Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) fell 6.04 points, or 0.55 percent, to
end at 1,097.28. But the Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) inched
up just 0.85 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to close at 2,190.91.

* Shares of Monster Worldwide Inc (MWW.N: ) rose 2.3 percent
to $16.80 in extended trade on Wednesday after the company
reported quarterly results and said it will buy Yahoo Inc’s

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(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

Wall St futures point to weaker open; focus on data