Stock index futures mixed ahead of CPI data

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a mixed opening on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.1 percent and Nasdaq futures down 0.04 percent at 1008 GMT.

The S&P 500 rose on Wednesday to twice its value from just two years ago, with stocks boosted by forecast-beating results from Dell earnings and M&A announcements.

At 1330 GMT, investors will focus on the Labor Department release of the January Consumer Price Index. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.3 percent increase compared with a 0.4 percent rise in December.

Investors will eye weekly U.S. jobless claims also at 1330 GMT, while at 1500 GMT the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases February business activity survey.

Top regulators will appear before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, with Republicans escalating their push to delay and cut funding to the Dodd-Frank financial reform laws.

Earnings news will also be a focus. These include fourth-quarter numbers from Apache Corp. , Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. , Ecolab Inc. , Nordstrom and Waste Management .

Late Wednesday, Nvidia Corp said quarterly sales would rise 6 to 8 percent from the fourth quarter, which was above analysts' expectations as sales of its cutting-edge processors for smartphones and tablets accelerate this year.

CBS Corp reported late Wednesday that fourth-quarter revenue rose 11 percent to $3.9 billion, beating the $3.85 billion expected by analysts on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Williams Cos shares jumped 12 percent in post-market trade late on Wednesday after it said it planned to split the company's pipeline and exploration businesses into two separate publicly traded entities.

CHS Inc , the largest U.S. farm co-operative, said late on Wednesday that it was looking to expand investments in Brazil to boost its presence as a grain buyer and exporter in the booming soy sector.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved expanded use of Allergan Inc's stomach band, allowing it to be implanted in people who are less obese than those now approved as candidates for the weight-loss surgery, the drug company said late on Wednesday.

North Sea Brent crude oil prices extended gains to hold at 2-1/2 year highs of more than $104 a barrel on Thursday, as fresh Israel-Iran tension fed spreading unrest in the Middle East and stoked fears of a disruption of oil flows in the region.

European shares were flat on Thursday after hitting 29-month highs in the previous session, with falls in industrial goods firms offset by gains in food stocks after upbeat results from Nestle .

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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