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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. stocks were poised for a lower open Thursday as a string of weak economic reports have sparked worries about growth slowing down on both sides of the Atlantic.

Disappointing reports on durable goods orders, consumer confidence and home prices have dragged on domestic markets this week, while ongoing concerns about a growth slowdown in China have added pressure on world markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), SP 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were slightly lower. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Investors head into Thursday hoping to shake off jitters with a revised GDP estimate and initial jobless claims data due before the opening bell.

The new readings are expected to be in line with recent reports on GDP and the labor market.

In corporate news, companies including retailer Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500) and metal processor Worthington Industries (WOR) were due to release their quarterly results Thursday morning.

Stocks closed in the red Wednesday amid worries about slowing growth overseas and disappointing data in the U.S.

U.S. economy to outpace Europe

Economy: First-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 24 are expected to total 350,000, up from 348,000 in the week prior, according to a survey of analysts by Briefing.com.

The government’s third estimate of fourth-quarter GDP for 2011 is expected to remain unchanged at a 3% annual growth rate.

Companies: Best Buy is expected to report quarterly earnings of $2.16 a share on $17.2 billion in revenue, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Worthington is expected to post earnings of 35 cents a share on $591 million in revenue.

Research in Motion (RIMM) will report results after the closing bell. The BlackBerry maker is expected to post earnings per share of 81 cents on $4.5 billion in revenue.

World markets: European stocks dropped in morning trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 (UKX) was off 0.7%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany lost 1.0% and France’s CAC 40 (CAC40) was down 0.9%.

Asian markets ended lower. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) declined 1.4%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong dropped 1.3% and Japan’s Nikkei (N225) lost 0.7%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar lost ground against the Japanese yen, but strengthened against the euro and the British pound.

Oil for May delivery slipped 54 cents to $104.87 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $2.10 to $1655.80 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose, dropping yields to 2.18% from 2.20% late Wednesday. To top of page

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_topstories/~3/e2Xj9qu2BQo/index.htm

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