Stocks seen pulling back

Investors poised to retreat after Dow hits another 13-month high. Wal-Mart unveils earnings. Government reports jobless claims.

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NEW YORK( -- U.S. stock futures fell Thursday as investors digested Wal-Mart earnings and the government's report that intial jobless claims fell to the lowest level this year.

The S&P 500, Nasdaq-100 and Dow Jones industrial average futures were lower.

Futures measure current index values against their perceived future performance and offer an indication of how markets may open when trading begins.

The blue-chip Dow hit another 13-month high Wednesday, but with little in the way of economic news to sway markets, gains were modest.

Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist for Jamey Montgomery Scott, said the decline in the futures stemmed from "a little spillover from the Asian equities market overnight." But given the consecutive gains in U.S. markets so far this month, he said "it would not be unnatural to expect some pause at some time."

Companies: Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) announced on Thursday that it beat third-quarter earnings estimates.

The world's biggest retailer said that earnings were 84 cents per share and sales were nearly $98.7 billion. A consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast EPS of 81 cents.

HP (HPQ, Fortune 500) said late Wednesday that it was buying networking company 3Com (COMS) for $2.7 billion.

Economy: The Labor Department released its weekly report on initial jobless claims, showing 502,000 claims for the week ended Nov. 7. That is the lowestl level since Jan. 3.

Economists were expecting 510,000 claims, according to consensus.

The government upwardly revised its tally for the prior week to 514,000.

At 2 p.m. ET, the U.S. Treasury budget is due to be released.

World markets: Stocks in Japan and Hong Kong finished the session lower. Major European indexes were mixed in midday trading.

Money and oil: The dollar was higher against major international currencies. The price of oil fell 69 cents to $78.59 a barrel. To top of page

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