U.S. stock index futures shaved some losses Thursday following a better-than-expected jobless claims report.
Weekly claims for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 in the last week, to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a gain of 1,000.
And the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell 26.8 percent in March to 37,880 jobs, from 51,728 in February, according to a report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, hitting its lowest level in 10 months.
The employment reports come ahead of the government's key March jobs report, due out on Good Friday, even as the stock market is closed.
Most retailers, including Target , Macy's , Limited and Gap posted solid gains in March, helped by the warm weather that prompted customers to purchase seasonal goods sooner than usual.
Among earnings, Constellation Brands slumped even after the wine company posted robust earnings, thanks to higher sales and lower expenses. The company also approved a $1 billion stock buyback.
Bed Bath & Beyond rallied after the retailer posted results that topped expectations.Page 1 of 2 | Next Page