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Stock futures flat before consumer spending, claims data

Stock futures flat before consumer spending, claims data

06/26/2014

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Futures for U.S. stocks were listless Thursday, as Wall Street waited for figures on consumer spending, personal income and a weekly update on claims for unemployment benefits.

Futures for the S&P 500 (SPU4) were off less than 1 point at 1,948, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJU4) were up 2 points at 16,773. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 (NDU4) edged up 1.3 point at 3,816.25.

All data on Thursday's docket are scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect the consumer-spending reading from the Commerce Department to show a 0.4% rise in May, stemming from the biggest uptick in auto sales in more than seven years.

Spending figures for January through May in the report will come under heightened scrutiny, following the "massive" downward revision of U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product, said global head of economics Michala Marcussen in a Thursday note.

Revised government figures on Wednesday put the U.S. economy's contraction at 2.9% in the first quarter, the biggest drop in GDP since early 2009. The key factor in the result was Americans spending less than originally assumed, mainly on health care. The previous contraction estimate was 1%.

The Commerce Department is also projected to report personal income in May rose 0.4%, in line with average monthly gains since the start of 2014.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department is seen as saying new applications for unemployment benefits fell to 310,000 in the week ended June 21, from 312,000 in the prior week. Société Générale said difficulties related to a seasonal adjustment for shifting school closures "prompted us to mark our projection for initial jobless claims higher," to a five-week high of 325,000 filers.

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