The Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for first-time unemployment claims rose by 4,000 to 367,000 for the week ended Sept. 29, slightly higher than expected.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said U.S.-based employers announced plans to cut 33,816 jobs in September, down 71% from a year earlier.
The government monthly jobs report is due out Friday.
ECB officials kept rates at 0.75% when they met in Slovenia Thursday.
The Bank of England left its key interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, where it’s been since early 2009.
At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release minutes for its most recent policy making meeting, in which it announced the latest round of quantitative easing, or QE3. The report could provide more information on the Fed’s open-ended program of buying $40 billion in mortgage debt every month.
European stocks were mixed in morning trading and Asian markets ended higher.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are heading lower in premarket trading, after falling 13% Wednesday on a disappointing 2013 earnings outlook.
The national average price of gasoline is up two-tenths if a cent to $3.784 per gallon.
Earnings reports (estimates): ISCA-International Speedway ($0.063 est, $0.01 actual).
0730 ET Sep Challenger job cuts, Aug -36.9% y/y.
0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected +11,000 to 370,000, previous -26,000 to 359,000. Weekly continuing claims expected +4,000 to 3.275 mln, previous -4,000 to 3.271 mln.
0830 ET USDA weekly Net Export Sales.
1000 ET Aug factory orders expected -5.9% m/m, July +2.8% m/m.
1100 ET Treasury announces 3-year, 30-year and 30-year auctions for Oct 9-11.
1400 ET FOMC Sep 12-13 meeting minutes (QE3 announcement).
1630 ET Weekly money supply report and Fed balance sheet.
2000 ET St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks on U.S. economy in Memphis, TN.