NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures were mixed Thursday with new hints of a deteriorating economy in China offsetting some positive news from the U.S.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 3 points to 13,123 and the broader S&P futures slipped 1.6 points to 1,396.60. Nasdaq futures added 5 points to 2,711.75.
The Labor Department reported that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 361,000. While the less volatile four-week average rose by 2,250 to 368,250 in the week that ended Aug. 4, both figures put the country more comfortably in the direction of lower unemployment.
When applications consistently fall below 375,000, it typically suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the jobless rate.
Also on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in 18 months in June thanks to a steep drop in oil imports and a small rise in exports. Overseas sales of autos, pharmaceuticals, and industrial machinery increased, even in economically besieged Europe.
Still, economists are concerned that the global economic downturn could slow a recovery in the U.S. and on Thursday there was more unsettling news from China, the world's second-largest economy.
China's factory output grew at the slowest pace in three years last month and retail sales weakened. Beijing is already putting into place stimulus measures, but some economists say policy makers must act even more aggressively.
And while many expect growth to rebound later this year after it fell to a three-year low in the latest quarter, analysts say any recovery from China's deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis will be too meager to revive the jolted global economy.
One bright spot is auto sales. China's auto sales rose 11 percent in July. Sales growth in the world's biggest auto market by vehicles sold is stronger than that of the United States and Europe, but it has slid since a stimulus-driven boom in 2010.
News from the U.S. corporate front was mixed. JPMorgan Chase & Co. restated first-quarter financial results to account for a $6 billion trading blunder. The bank now says that it earned $4.92 billion for the quarter ended March 31. That's $459 million less than the $5.38 billion originally reported.
Wendy's lost money during the second quarter as it refinanced debt, but investors were more interested in revenue from stores open at least 15 months, which rose 3.2 percent for the quarter. Shares jumped 3 percent before the opening bell.
Later Thursday, the Commerce Department posts wholesale inventories numbers.