By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

Social-media giant warns of slower growth in ad revenue

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday as investors assessed a jump in jobless claims and a surge in productivity data.

Both reports underlined a continued steady economic growth and were strong enough for the Federal Reserve to go ahead with its plant to raise interest rates at its December meeting.

S&P 500 futures inched up by 5 points, or 0.3%, to 2,097, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures edged up by 45 points, or 0.3%, to 17,926.

Nasdaq-100 futures were marginally higher at 4,720. The tech-heavy gauge was weighed down by the fall for Facebook, one of its largest components.

Shares in Facebook(FB) traded 6% lower in premarket action after the social-media giant warned (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-needs-its-big-bets-to-pay-off-soon-after-spooking-investors-2016-11-02) late Wednesday that growth rates for its advertising revenue will "come down meaningfully." The stock's drop also limited the S&P's gain.

The White House race continued to be a key factor.

"Markets remain very much focused on the outcome of next week's U.S. presidential election," said Tony Cross, market analyst for TopTradr, in a note.

"Donald Trump's turnaround in the opinion polls is being taken seriously by financial markets, with short USD positions building and a breakdown in U.S. equity markets being observed, too."

"Short USD positions" refers to bets against the dollar, and a key index for the buck traded down modestly Thursday, stretching its weekly decline to 1.1%.

Hillary Clinton's lead in a RealClearPolitics average of polls stood at 1.9 points (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html) early Thursday, up from 1.7 on Wednesday but still down sharply from about 7 points in mid-October.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 closed lower for the seventh session in a row, notching its longest losing streak in five years (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-under-pressure-as-tighter-election-race-rattles-investors-2016-11-02), while the Dow shed 0.4%. The drops came as the Federal Reserve gave a subtle hint that it's inching closer to a December interest-rate hike (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-doesnt-need-to-see-much-more-evidence-before-raising-interest-rates-2016-11-02).

See: 5 reasons stocks will rally after the presidential election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/five-reasons-stocks-will-rally-after-the-us-presidential-election-2016-11-03)

Individual movers: On the upside, natural gas producer (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chesapeake-energys-stock-soars-after-surprise-adjusted-profit-2016-11-03)Chesapeake Energy Corp.(CHK) and cosmetics seller (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avon-swings-to-profit-but-revenue-hurt-by-dollar-2016-11-03)Avon Products Inc.(AVP) were gaining 6% and 8% premarket, respectively, as investors cheered their quarterly reports that hit before the open.

Whole Foods Market Inc.(WFM) advanced 2% premarket after the grocery chain late Wednesday announced better-than-expected profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/whole-foods-shares-rise-after-earnings-beat-dividend-hike-2016-11-02), a dividend hike and the elimination of its dual-CEO structure (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/john-mackey-to-be-sole-ceo-of-whole-foods-market-2016-11-02), leaving co-founder John Mackey as sole boss.

On the downside, fitness trackers seller FitbitInc.(FIT) and games maker Zynga Inc.(ZNGA) were both on track for down days, after falling late Wednesday in the wake of their quarterly reports. Fitbit's results and outlook came in below Wall Street's expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/flex2-manufacturing-issues-will-hurt-fitbits-holiday-season-2016-11-02), and Zynga also missed on both counts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zynga-posts-loss-as-number-of-active-users-dips-2016-11-02).

Other markets: The pound jumped to an almost four-week high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-leaps-after-court-delivers-blow-to-uks-brexit-plan-2016-11-03) against the dollar on Thursday after a U.K. high court ruled the government can't trigger the Brexit process without approval from parliament. Oil futures and European stocks traded higher, while Asian markets closed mixed. Gold futures dropped, paring their gain for the week.

Economic news:The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jobless-claims-hit-3-month-high-of-265000-2016-11-03)at the end of October rose by 7,000 to a three-month high of 265,000, but the rate of layoffs in the U.S. remains extremely low.

Meanwhile, American firms and employees boosted their productivity (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-productivity-surges-31-in-third-quarter-2016-11-03)in the third quarter for the first time in 2016, but the longer-term trend is still a poor one that bodes ill for the U.S. economy.

At 9:45 a.m. Eastern, investors are due to get Markit's October figure for its services purchasing managers' index.

Reports on factory orders and the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index are scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. Eastern. Economists predict a 0.2% rise in factory orders for September, as well as an October reading of 56.0% for the ISM gauge.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2016 09:01 ET (13:01 GMT)

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