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Market Hustle: Futures Little Changed After Rise in Jobless Claims

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as investors weighed an increase in jobless claims. Retailers were trading lower after reporting lackluster quarterly results.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 5 points, or 2.06 points below fair value, to 16,504. S&P 500 futures were up 0.25 points, or 0.02 points above fair value, to 1,885.25. Nasdaq futures were up 2.8 points, or 2.69 points above fair value, to 3,636.3.

  • Initial jobless claims increased 28,000 to 326,000 in the week of May 17, coming in above the consensus economist estimate of 310,000.

  • The economic calendar Thursday also includes existing homes sales for April at 10 a.m. EDT, the Markit flash PMI Manufacturing Index for May at 9:45 a.m., and the Conference Board's Leading Indicators report for April at 10 a.m. Existing home sales are forecast to have risen to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million from 4.59 million, the first monthly increase of the year.

  • The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI rebounded sharply to 49.7 in May, up from 48.1 in April. The improvement was broad-based with both new orders and new export orders back in expansionary territory. But the report said downside risks to growth remain as the property market continues to cool. "We think more policy easing is needed to put a floor undergrowth in the coming months," Hongbin Qu, chief economist, China and co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC, said in the report.

  • The Hang Seng settled up 0.51%, the Nikkei 225 closed higher by 2.11%. The FTSE 100 was up 0.09% and the DAX was up 0.16%. The Markit Flash Eurozone Composite PMI and the first public release of the Markit/JMMA Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index both offered promising data.

  • Best Buy (BBY - Get Report) was down 4.34% in premarket trading after reporting first-quarter revenue and same-store sales that missed expectations. Adjusted earnings per share of 33 cents beats analysts' expectations.  Sears (SHLD - Get Report) was off 3.58% after posting a wider-than-expected quarterly loss of $2.24 a share. The consensus loss estimate was $1.87.

  • Hess (HES) was up 1.89% after announcing that it has agreed to sell its retail business to Marathon Petroleum (MRO) for a total cash consideration of $2.6 billion.

  • U.S. stocks advanced Wednesday as investors cheered minutes of the Federal Reserve's policy-making arm, which didn't signal a move to raise the benchmark interest rate any time soon.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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