US STOCKS-Futures imply modest decline at open despite claims data

Thu Oct 2, 2014 8:52am EDT
 
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK Oct 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday as a positive read on the labor market was not enough to entice buyers even after a sharp decline in the previous session.

Equities have been weak of late, with the S&P 500 down for seven of the past nine sessions, and closing under its 100-day moving average for the first time since Aug. 7 on Wednesday.

While the benchmark index is only 3.2 percent away from its record close, the Russell 2000 on Wednesday ended more than 10 percent below its own record, putting the small-cap index in correction territory.

Small-cap stocks are considered a leading sector of the market, and some market participants are concerned the weakness could spread throughout Wall Street. However, the Russell also underwent a sharp pullback earlier this year, which didn't lead to similar losses in the S&P as investors continued a trend of buying on market declines.

In the latest economic data, jobless claims unexpectedly fell in the latest week, the second positive sign for the labor market this week, following Wednesday's stronger-than-expected read on private sector employment. The data could lift expectations for Friday's closely watched payroll report.

Futures snapshot at 0848 EDT:

* S&P 500 e-minis were falling 2.25 points, or 0.12 percent, with 266,679 contracts changing hands.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 0.75 points, or 0.02 percent, in volume of 45,489 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 32 points, or 0.19 percent, with 34,849 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)