U.S. Stock Futures Pare Gains as Jobless Claims Increase

U.S. stock futures pared gains as government data showed more Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.

S&P 500 futures expiring in June gained 0.2 percent to 1,551.8 at 8:34 a.m. in New York, paring an earlier advance of as much as 0.5 percent.

Jobless claims rose by 28,000 to 385,000 in the week ended March 30, the highest since Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 353,000. Before adjusting for seasonal variations, claims fell by almost 1,600.

The Easter holiday falls on different weeks from year to year, making it more difficult for the government to adjust the data, a Labor Department spokesman said as the numbers were released.

The S&P 500 slid 1.1 percent yesterday, the most in more than a month, on worse-than-estimated economic data. A report from ADP Research Institute showed companies boosted employment by 158,000 workers in March, below economists’ forecasts calling for a 200,000 gain.

The jobs data come before tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls report from the Labor Department, which may show employers hired a net 195,000 workers for the month, according to the median forecast of 87 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

U.S. equity futures climbed earlier today as the Bank of Japan doubled its bond purchases to help drive the world’s third-largest economy. European Central Bank officials meeting in Frankfurt left interest rates on hold as policy makers weigh their options to increase stimulus. The Bank of England kept its interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent.

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