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posted: 12/7/2012 7:13 AM

U.S. stock futures drop before jobs report

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  • A trader talks on the phone while another views a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this week.

    A trader talks on the phone while another views a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this week.
    Associated Press

Bloomberg News

U.S. stock-index futures declined before reports that may show November jobs growth slowed and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.9 percent in the world's largest economy.

Amarin Corp. plunged 17 percent in early New York trading after the maker of the cholesterol-lowering drug Vascepa said it raised financing and started hiring a sales team for the medicine. Netflix Inc. fell 1.5 percent in Germany after saying it may face a Securities and Exchange Commission civil claim.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures expiring this month slipped 0.3 percent to 1,409 at 7:43 a.m. in New York. The equity benchmark is heading for a 0.2 percent loss this week as lawmakers debate ways to avoid $607 billion of spending cuts and tax increases next year. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,045 today.

"The market is taking a breather while waiting for the jobs data," said Bruno Ducros, who helps oversee about $3.9 billion in equities at CamGestion in Paris. "The jobs numbers are important, but we shouldn't worry too much because they are marked by the hurricane," he said, referring to superstorm Sandy that swept over North America in October.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 85,000 workers, the fewest since June, following a 171,000 increase in October, according to the median forecast of 91 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The jobless rate may have held at 7.9 percent. The Labor Department will release the figures at 8:30 a.m. in Washington.

A report yesterday showed first-time claims for jobless benefits declined by 25,000 to 370,000 in the week ended Dec. 1.

Japanese Tremor

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off northeastern Japan, the most powerful since last year's record tremor, causing buildings in Tokyo to sway and disrupting rail and airline traffic. December Futures on the Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.6 percent to 9,500.

In the euro area, Greece is offering to purchase about 29 billion euros ($37.6 billion) of bonds maturing from 2023 to 2042 at an average of about 33.1 percent of face value, using a 10 billion-euro loan from the region's bailout fund.

If it fails to reach the target when the tender closes at 5 p.m. London time today, the country would have to consider a writedown of the loans it has received from other euro-area member states and the International Monetary Fund. Germany has already rejected writing down this debt.

Amarin tumbled 17 percent to $9.86 in early New York trading. The company said it raised $100 million and started hiring a sales force, leading investors to believe that a strategic deal for Vascepa is not imminent. They had expected Amarin to find a partner to market Vascepa, said Akiva Felt, an analyst for Wedbush Securities in San Francisco.

Netflix lost 1.5 percent to $84.84 in Germany. Netflix and Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said they may face an SEC civil claim over a July Facebook post that coincided with the stock's biggest gain in almost six weeks.

Research in Motion Ltd. dropped 2 percent to $11.65 in premarket trading.

Cooper Cos. fell 2.7 percent to $91.34. The maker of health-care products reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share that missed analyst estimates.

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