US stock futures jump on lower jobless claims

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NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures are jumping after new figures showed the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nine months.

The gains also followed a move by the European Central Bank to cut a key interest rate by a quarter-point. The rate cut was roughly in line with expectations. The bank last cut rates only five weeks ago, on Nov. 3.

Less than an hour before the U.S. market opening, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 67 points to 12,281. Standard & Poor's 500 futures rose 6 points to 1,270.

The market will be closely watching a European economic summit in Brussels scheduled to start later Thursday.

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