Stocks poised for muted open ahead of weekly unemployment benefits data

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Eyes on weekly jobless claims data

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Thursday ahead of the Department of Labor’s widely watched weekly report of the number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits and those receiving continuing claims.

By 6:00 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were indicated 38.5 points, or 0.13% lower to 29,829.5. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 20.25 points, or 0.16% to 12,474.5 while the S&P 500 futures were flat.

The report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show 775,000 claims were filed in the week ended Nov. 28. That compares to the 778,000 claims filed during the prior week.

Continuing claims are expected to come in at 5.8 million for the week ended Nov. 21, down from 6.071 million during the previous week.

Owl Rock shares surge 9% on reports of merger talks with Dyal Capital

Moving on, shares in Owl Rock (NYSE: ORCC) surged in the pre-market trading session Thursday, climbing 9.47% to $14.45 apiece.

The gains came after the Wall Street Journal reported that Dyal Capital Partners is holding talks with Owl Rock to merge through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) called Altimar Acquisition Corp.

According to the Journal, the combined company would be valued at roughly $13 billion.

Dyal and Owl Rock later said in a press release that their founders and the latter’s parent company Neuberger Berman Group would own “meaningful positions in the combined business.”

Owl Rock went public in 2016 and manages $23.7 billion in assets, while Dyal manages about $22 billion.

House clears bill allowing Chinese firms to be delisted from U.S. stock exchanges

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has unanimously approved a bill that could force Chinese firms to delist from U.S. stock markets if they fail to adhere to U.S. auditing standards.

The bill, which was approved earlier on Wednesday, will give China-based companies such as Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) three years to abide by U.S. law before being booted from U.S. stock exchanges.

Some analysts believe that increased scrutiny could also discourage other Chinese companies from listing in the U.S.

With the House vote, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act which passed the Senate in May now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Beijing “firmly opposes politicizing securities regulation.” She called for enhancing dialogue and cooperation.

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