Stock futures point to weak open, jobs data on tap

Stock index futures were weaker on Thursday, easing after the S&P 500 benchmark index racked up its highest closing level for the year, while investors awaited data on the labor market.

Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.N) will be in the spotlight after the company raised its forecast for third-quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday, expecting to ride a gradual recovery in the global semiconductor industry.

Shares in Texas Instruments in Frankfurt (TXN.F) were up 1.5 percent.

Monsanto (MON.N) was off 4.7 percent to $79.59 in light premarket volume after the company reaffirmed its results for the fiscal year just ended to be at the low end of its previous forecast.

An investor focus will be on health insurance stocks after President Barack Obama's speech to Congress on Wednesday night pushing for healthcare reform. Obama told Congress to end its political bickering and move quickly on a broad overhaul of the health system and insurance market.

The Labor Department releases weekly first-time claims for jobless benefits at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Also, the Commerce Department releases July international trade at the same time.

S&P 500 futures slipped 3.60 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 20 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were off 3.25 points.

Oil firm Chevron (CVX.N) has sealed an estimated $60 billion worth of gas deals with three North Asian buyers for its massive Gorgon project in Australia, paving the way for a final investment decision in coming weeks.

Stocks accumulated a fourth day of gains on Wednesday, pushing the S&P 500 index to its best finish so far this year as industrial and technology companies gained from a weak dollar. It was the highest close for the broad index since early October when it ended at 1,056.89.

Financial Mirror, September 10, 2009 - Reuters

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