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US STOCKS-Futures little changed with data on tap; Cisco climbs

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, May 16, 2013 12:00 hrs

* Cisco jumps after earnings, outlook

* Wal-Mart slips after earnings miss

* CPI, housing starts, jobless claims data on tap

* Futures: Dow up 5 pts, S&P up 0.6 pt, Nasdaq up 5.75 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 may remain near its newest record high ahead of data on the housing and labor markets.

The Dow and S&P 500 hit all-time highs in the prior session in a broad market rally as the recent upward momentum persisted.

Investors will eye a flurry of data at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), including the April consumer price index, weekly initial jobless claims and housing starts for April.

Data showing a modestly growing economy has increased investor confidence the Federal Reserve will keep stimulus measures in place, helping push yearly gains for both the Dow and S&P 500 indexes to more than 16 percent.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer and a barometer of consumer spending, fell 2.5 percent to $77.86 in premarket trade after posting a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street expectations, with sales down 1.4 percent at U.S. stores open at least a year.

"We are in the eternal, ever rising stock market for no good reason. This is the trend," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

"If everybody is looking to the Fed to be the reason to buy, it's a little nerve-racking - the overall tone of the market when compared with the real economy continues to be a little unsettling."

Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.2 percent drop in CPI, matching the decrease in March, while initial jobless claims are forecast to show a total of 330,000 new filings compared with 323,000 in the prior week.

Housing starts are expected to show a 973,000 annualized rate in April versus 1,036,000 in March, with a total of 945,000 permits expected in April compared with 907,000 in March.

Cisco Systems Inc, up 10.3 percent to $23.39 in premarket trade, may boost indexes after the network equipment maker posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and said current-quarter revenue could increase.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.6 point and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 5 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.75 points.

Later in the session at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases its April business activity survey. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast an April reading in the main index of 2.4 versus 1.3 in March.

A weaker-than-expected reading for New York state's manufacturing sector on Wednesday failed to dent the bullish sentiment among investors.

Tesla Motors Inc jumped 12.5 percent to $95.48 in premarket trade after the electric carmaker said it aims to raise $830 million through a stock and debt offering that will be used to repay its U.S. Department of Energy loans with interest. The stock has surged more than 50 percent since posting earnings last week.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc slumped 6.2 percent to $4.11 before the opening bell after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to "sell."

European shares fell slightly after some investors took profits on updates from Zurich Insurance Group and National Grid as indexes hovered near multi-year highs.

Most stock markets in Asia edged up after solid growth data from Japan improved sentiment, although Tokyo's Nikkei lagged.




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