* Spanish yields rise after Wednesday's bond auction
* U.S. jobless claims data on tap
* S&P 500 below 14-day moving average for first time in a
* Futures down: S&P 5.2 pts, Dow 48 pts, Nasdaq 3.75 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 5 U.S. stock index futures fell
on Thursday as a rise in Spanish bond yields renewed concerns
about the euro zone's financial health, and as investors awaited
report on U.S. jobless claims.
Concerns mounted about Spain and its ability to meet budget
targets, hitting the euro zone peripheral indexes. Poor demand
at a Spanish bond sale on Wednesday heightened fears about
funding difficulties for weaker euro zone countries, with
investors seeing an easing of the effects of the European
Central Bank's huge liquidity injections.
The U.S. Labor Department releases first-time claims for
jobless benefits for the week ended March 31 at 8:30 a.m. ET
(1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of
355,000 new filings compared with 359,000 in the prior week.
The data will provide clues on the all-important March
employment data due on the Good Friday holiday when markets will
"It's going to be a choppy, cautious trading day. Jitters
over Spain, heading into the long weekend, and the all-important
jobs report out tomorrow, there isn't much that would motivate
investors at this time," said Peter Cardillo, chief market
economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
Earlier on Thursday, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, reported
that the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell in March
to the lowest level in 10 months as the government sector cut
S&P 500 futures fell 5.2 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 48
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 3.75 points.
Ford Motor Co has raised its forecast for total 2012
U.S. auto sales after the industry's solid first quarter, Ford
President for the Americas Mark Fields said on Wednesday.
JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said
on Wednesday that the company is inclined to restrict its stock
buybacks when its shares are trading above $45.
Nike Inc beat rival Reebok International in court on
Wednesday in a legal pile-up over the use of popular National
Football League quarterback Tim Tebow's name and number on
shirts of his new team, the New York Jets.
Apple Inc and publishers Pearson and
Macmillan are reluctant to agree to terms sought by U.S. and
European antitrust authorities investigating possible
electronic-book price-fixing, the Wall Street Journal cited
sources as saying on Wednesday.
Quest Software Inc's new chief executive rushed to
sell the company to head off a possible investigation by
regulators, according to a shareholder lawsuit that shines a
light on the technology company's accounting.
The services sector in China, the world's second-largest
economy, expanded solidly in March and business confidence hit
an 11-month high, though overall activity remained below its
long-term average, a private sector survey of purchasing
managers showed on Thursday.
U.S. stocks fell for a second day on Wednesday as investors
contemplated a world without monetary stimulus and a poorly
received bond auction in Spain suggested the effects of Europe's
funding operations were waning.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen in eight of the past
12 sessions, dropping below its 14-day moving average for the
first time in a month. The Nasdaq posted its worst daily
percentage drop since Dec. 14.