U.S. stock futures edged higher ahead of the opening bell, as some investors spy an opportunity to get back into the market in the belief that the recent sell-off was overdone.
Persistent worries about the slowing economy and when the Federal Reserve will start tapering its bond buying program has had investors on edge this week. U.S. stocks fell sharply Wednesday, with the Dow closing below 15,000 for the first time since May 6.
Investors were turning their focus to the job market early Thursday.
The government said initial claims for unemployment benefits totaled 346,000 in the week ended June 1, down 11,000 from the previous week.
Friday brings the government's closely watched monthly jobs report. Analysts say this report could be particularly important given the questions about how long the Fed will continue its bond-buying program.
"We continue to get somewhat mixed signals about the U.S. recovery which perhaps added more uncertainty to all the Fed taper chat," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid, in a market report.
Shares of SodaStream ( rallied in premarket trading on speculation that )PepsiCo (Fortune 500) may be trying to buy the soda maker. But the stock lost some of its fizz after PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told CNBC the rumors were untrue. ,
Some European stocks had trouble getting started in the morning because of a technical glitch. Once open, all major markets edged higher.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England both left their main interest rates unchanged, as expected.
European investors showed little reaction to monetary policy announcements, though the euro surged to a four-week high against the U.S. dollar.
Asian markets ended the day in the red. Japan's Nikkei index fell by another 0.9%, after dropping nearly 4% in the previous session. The Tokyo index has fallen more than 17% since May 22, when it hit its highest level in five and a half years.
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