Stock Futures Flat Ahead of Jobless Claims

Tickers in this article: FB ORCL ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as investors awaited weekly jobless claims and as markets took a breather following Wednesday's surge on the Federal Reserve's shift in economic stimulus.

Futures for the S&P 500 were slipping 0.04% 1,804. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were dropping 0.2%, to 16,105. Nasdaq futures were losing 0.19% to 3,502.

The Fed announced Wednesday that it would start in January to scale back its monetary stimulus program to $75 billion a month in asset purchases. The central bank has been purchasing $85 billion -- $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in longer-term Treasuries -- and decided to reduce purchases of each of its asset-purchase categories by $5 billion.

The news fueled U.S. equities to all-time highs and to one of the best intraday performances for 2013.

Investors are looking next to initial jobless claims, expected at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday. Economists forecast claims for the week ended Dec. 14 to rise 337,000, which would be a drop from the prior week's reading of 368,000 claims.

At 10 a.m., markets are anticipating the Philadelphia Fed survey, which offers investors insight into general business conditions for November. Existing home sales for November emerge at the same time as economists expect sales to rise more than 5 million, following 5.12 million in October.

In company news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other shareholders will sell 70 million shares, the company said in a statement. Shares of the social-networking giant were losing 4.8% to $52.92 in premarket trading.

Oracle posted second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts. The business software maker earned $2.55 billion, or 56 cents a share on $9.28 billion in revenue. Its adjusted profit was 69 cents a share, while analysts were looking for 67 cents a share. Shares of Oracle were gaining 2.7% to $35.52 in premarket action.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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