NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set for a weak open Thursday, as investors monitored the latest developments in Europe's debt crisis, digested JPMorgan Chase's earnings and latest job market data.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures were slightly lower ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso announced a five-point plan Wednesday to address Europe's sovereign debt problems. And later this week, finance ministers from the world's leading economies will meet to discuss ways to strengthen the faltering global recovery.
Every development overseas is getting investors' attention. More than 80% of the experts surveyed by CNNMoney agree that debt problems overseas are the most challenging hurdle for the market.
Stocks have been climbing since the start of the month, as hopes for a solution to Europe's debt crisis continue to grow. The three major indexes are up between 8% and 11% since Oct. 3, when stocks hit their lowest levels in more than a year.
Meanwhile, the economic turmoil in Europe and the United States has started to impact China. While exports were up 17.1% in September from a year earlier, that was weaker than the 24.5% annual increase in the previous month and below most forecasts, according to reports.
Economy: First-time filings for unemployment benefits fell 1,000 to 404,000, according to the government's weekly report. Economists were expecting 406,000 initial jobless claims. Continuing claims slipped to 3.67 million, slightly below estimates for 3.7 million ongoing claims.
The U.S. trade deficit remained unchanged at $45.6 billion August.
Companies: JPMorgan Chase ( , Fortune 500) reported quarterly earnings-per-share at $1.02, topping Wall Street estimates. CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank is being "extremely cautious, while navigating through this challenging economic environment." Shares fell 1.7% in premarket trading.
Google (Fortune 500) will report its quarterly results after the market closes. The search engine company is expected to report earnings per share of $8.74, according to Briefing.com.,
Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (another hit to its already faltering corporate image. A widespread service outage that started overseas on Monday spread Wednesday, hitting the United States and Canada.) took
Shares slid 1.5% in premarket trade, as founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis made a public apology. The company's stock is down almost 60% so far in 2011.
World markets: European stocks were lower in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 ( ) lost 0.9%, the DAX ( ) in Germany shaved 1.2% and France's CAC 40 ( ) slid 1.2%.
Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite () ticked up 0.8%, the Hang Seng ( ) in Hong Kong jumped 2.3% and Japan's Nikkei ( ) added 1%.
Oil for November delivery dropped $1.17 to $84.40 a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery fell $9.20 to $1,673.40 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury edged slightly higher, pushing the yield down to 2.2% from 2.23% late Wednesday.
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