* Chinese exports drop 10 pct in September - report
* Gold ticks up, dollar near session low
* Weekly jobless claims unchanged at 246,000
* Futures down: Dow 111 pts, S&P 13.75 pts, Nasdaq 32.5 pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Oct 13 Wall Street was set to open lower on
Thursday as investors fretted about China's weak economic data
and the prospects of an interest rate hike by the end of the
Data showed China's exports fell 10 percent in September,
far worse than the markets had expected, while imports
unexpectedly shrank, reviving concerns about the health of the
world's second-largest economy.
The Fed on Wednesday released the minutes of its last
rate-setting meeting, which showed that several policymakers
felt a rate hike was warranted "relatively soon" if the U.S.
economy continued to strengthen.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
held at a 43-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor
market strength, a report showed on Thursday.
Traders see little chance of a rate increase during the
Fed's November meeting, which falls days before the Nov. 8 U.S.
presidential election. However, the odds for a December move are
at 70 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
U.S. stock index futures were at one-month lows, tracking
declines in Asian and European stocks.
Prices of gold, a safe haven, ticked higher, while
the dollar, which is near a seven-month high, was trading
at session lows.
"China's trade data spooked global markets and it comes at a
time when we have a Federal Reserve that wants to raise rates
soon," said John Brady, senior vice president at R.J. O'Brien &
Associates in Chicago.
"It's a modest risk-off sentiment today."
Wall Street, where riskier assets have found little favor in
the past weeks, closed slightly higher on Wednesday as the Fed
minutes did little to alter traders expectations of a rate hike
Market valuations will be put to test during the earnings
season, with profits of S&P 500 companies currently expected to
fall 0.7 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is trading at 17 times forward
earnings, compared with its 10-year median of 14.7, according to
Dow e-minis were down 111 points, or 0.61 percent at
8:26 a.m. ET (1226 GMT), with 40,498 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 13.75 points, or 0.65
percent, with 248,441 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 32.5 points, or 0.68
percent, on volume of 38,308 contracts.
Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt-listed stock fell 3
percent after sources told Reuters that the bank was introducing
a hiring freeze as it seeks to cut costs amid a deep strategic
The bank's U.S. shares were down 2.7 percent in heavy
Big U.S. bank stocks, including Morgan Stanley,
JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup,
fell between 0.9 percent and 1.25 percent.
Wells Fargo shares rose 1.26 percent after Chief
Executive John Stumpf abruptly departed on Wednesday following a
sales scandal that damaged the reputation of the once most
valuable bank in the world.
Marriott Vacations plunged nearly 10 percent after
reporting a sharp decline in quarterly revenue from Europe.
Wynn Resorts is scheduled to report after market
close on Thursday, while U.S. banks start reporting from Friday.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by