Stock futures fall as retailers disappoint

KEN SWEET AP Markets Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are falling as investors balance better-than-expected jobs numbers against a pair of disappointing earnings reports from some big retailers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average futures are down 13 points to 16,574 as of 8:45 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures is down two points to 1,884 and the Nasdaq futures have given up 3 points to 3,593.25.

PRICE POP: U.S. consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in nearly a year in April, the Labor Department said Thursday. The consumer price index, an often-quoted barometer of inflation in the U.S., rose by 0.3 percent last month due to higher food and gas prices. Inflation is on pace to rise 2 percent this year -- and while not alarming, is noticeably higher than it was a year ago.

JOBS JOBS JOBS: The Labor Department says the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in seven years last week. Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell by 24,000 to 297,000. Economists had predicted a much smaller drop in jobless claims applications.

RETAIL ROUT: Shares in the retail giant Wal-Mart Stores are down in premarket trading after the company reported a 5 percent profit decline in its most recent quarter and warned that things don't look much better this quarter. The company, like many other retailers, blamed harsh winter weather. Kohl's is also falling sharply after reporting a 15 percent drop in first-quarter earnings. Its comparable-store sales fell 3.4 percent when industry analysts were looking for a slight uptick.