US stock futures rebound a day after big losses

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stock futures rebounded Thursday after an unexpected drop in unemployment claims and signs of progress in Europe’s debt crisis. The gains came one day after the Dow Jones industrial average sank by nearly 400 points.

Wednesday’s losses were the worst for the stock market since the volatile trading in August. Traders are concerned that a debt crisis in Italy and Greece will lead to a painful global recession.

Those worries eased slightly Thursday after Italy sold $6.8 billion worth of debt at borrowing rates that were more favorable than analysts expected. Italy’s president also reassured markets that prime minister Silvio Berlusconi will step down after a package of economic reforms are passed.

Greece, the other focus of Europe’s debt crisis, announced that former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos will serve as prime minister of an interim government. Papademos will lead a government whose aim is to pass austerity measures in order to receive additional financial support from the European Union.

In the U.S., the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell to 390,000 last week. That was the lowest level since mid-April and a sign that the job market may be improving. Economists had predicted 400,000 new applications.

Dow futures were up 132 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,864 one hour before the opening bell. S&P 500 futures rose 17, or 1.4 percent, to 1,243. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 28 or 1.4 percent, to 2,338.

In corporate news, Cisco Systems Inc. rose 6.3 percent in premarket trading after its quarterly results beat Wall Street’s estimates. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. plunged 30 percent in premarket trading after its revenues fell short of analyst expectations.