NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures are under pressure after the best year for major indexes in nearly two decades.
KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial futures are down 21 points to 16,473. S&P futures have lost 2.2 points to 1,838.90. Nasdaq futures are down 7.250 points to 3,576.50.
JOBS: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week fell by 2,000, extending a rally in the job market. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the less volatile four-week average rose 8,500 to 357,250. The average was driven up in recent weeks by spikes that reflected seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
MORE DATA ON THE WAY: The government will also post data on manufacturing and construction spending.
HEAD START ON 2014: The year is opening at some lofty heights even with futures down. The Standard & Poor's 500 index recorded its best year since 1997; The Dow Jones industrial average rose the most since 1995. The Nasdaq did far better than the Dow and S&P, rising 38.3 percent for the year.
OVER THERE: Global stock markets are mixed with manufacturing data out of China suggesting that the world's second-largest economy might be slowing. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.3 percent to 2,109.3 after two manufacturing surveys showed activity slowed in December. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index lost 0.1 percent to 23,278.0. In Europe, France's CAC-40 added 0.2 percent to 4,304.2. Germany's DAX gained 0.7 percent to 9,620.2.
M&M: Macy's and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have announced an end to their bitter standoff over a breach-of-contract lawsuit involving J.C. Penney. Stewart's company and Penney signed a merchandising deal in December 2011. That prompted Macy's to sue both companies for violating its exclusive agreement with Martha Stewart. Terms of the settlement are not being released.
BE BACK NEXT WEEK: Most investors have closed the books on trading and volume is expected to be light for the rest of the week. But the weekly jobs number released Thursday is getting a lot of attention with the December employment report due out next week.