Stock futures fall on weak Chinese trade figures

By CHIP CUTTER | October 13, 2011 | 9:10 AM EDT

In this Oct. 12, 2011 photo, trader Eugene Mauro works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks in Europe fell Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, as investors await more details over exactly how European Union officials plan to tackle their debt crisis and Chinese trade figures stoked concerns over the outlook for the world's second-largest economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures fell Thursday after trade figures from China suggested that the world's second-largest economy is slowing.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in the U.S. also barely changed last week, reflecting a sluggish job market.

The trade surplus in China narrowed for a second straight month in September as a result of weakness in both imports and exports. That's a sign that the faltering global economic recovery is holding back China's growth.

In the U.S., first-time requests for unemployment benefits fell slightly to 404,000. But those applications need to consistently fall below 375,000 to indicate job growth. They haven't been that low since February.

Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 11,351 about 45 minutes before the opening bell.

Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 5, or 0.4 percent, to 1,191. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,295.

European markets were mostly lower as investors awaited more details on the region's plan to resolve its debt crisis.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.1 percent, France's CAC-40 fell 1.2 percent and Germany's DAX dropped 1.3 percent.

In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell about 1.8 percent ahead of the opening after the bank said its third-quarter income fell 4 percent on weaker results in its investment banking and trading divisions.

Google Inc. rose 0.5 percent in premarket trading. The search giant reports its earnings after the stock market closes.