U.S. stocks were set to fall at the open, as crude oil prices hover at $100 a barrel and investors continue to keep a wary eye on ongoing political tensions in Libya.
Stocks declined for a second straight session Wednesday, as oil prices surged to briefly cross the $100 per barrel mark amid mounting turmoil in the North African country.
Economy: Weekly initial jobless claims came in lower than expected. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the week ending Feb. 19 dropped by 22,000, to 391,000. Economists expected 410,000 claims.
The durable goods orders report matched expectations. The government reported that orders rose 2.7% in January, up from a revised 2.5% in December.
The Commerce Department issues its new home sales report at 15:00 GMT, which will be followed by a report on crude oil inventories.
Companies: General Motors Co. (GM) reported an annual profit of $4.7 billion in 2010 on Thursday morning. It's the automaker's first annual profit since 2004.
Before the bell, Target (TGT, Fortune 500) reported that its quarterly earnings jumped more than 10%. The stock slipped slightly in premarket trading.
Earnings from department store Kohl's (KSS, Fortune 500) are also due before the opening bell.
American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) will report after the closing bell, and is expected to post a massive loss.
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