Wall Street futures move higher

NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stocks futures rose Thursday after FedEx Corp.’s earnings beat expectations and initial claims for unemployment benefits fell.

Dow Jones industrial futures are up 1 percent to 11,879 and S&P 500 futures up 1.1 percent to 1,219. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.9 percent to 2,249.

New claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 19,000 to 366,000 last week, the lowest level in more than three years.

European stocks rose. Global economic worries led to losses in Asian markets.

Surveys showed Japanese business confidence and Chinese manufacturing had both slipped, while European industrial and services sectors continued to contract, though less than expected.

Later Thursday, U.S. reports on industrial production and other economic indicators are due. The U.S. economy has been showing modest signs of improvement.

A day after suffering sharp losses, European stocks rose. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2 percent to 5,431. Germany’s DAX gained 2 percent to 5,788 and France’s CAC-40 added 1.5 percent to 3,020.

Stocks faced stronger headwinds earlier in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 1.7 percent to close at 8,377.37, a three-week low. South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.1 percent to 1,819.11 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.8 percent to 18,026.84.

Mainland Chinese shares lost ground for a sixth straight trading day, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 2.1 percent to 2,180.90, while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 2.3 percent to 886.01.

Oil prices, which plunged more than $5 on Wednesday, drove down energy-related shares and steadied on Thursday.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 81 cents at $95.72 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined $5.19 to finish at $94.95 per barrel on the Nymex.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.