U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to lower open on Thursday as FedEx Corp reported in-line quarterly profits and even as the latest labor and housing data indicated an economic recovery was gaining steam.
The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell by 12,000 last week, while there was a rise in the number of those still collecting benefits.
Meanwhile, new U.S. housing starts and permits rose in August to their highest level since November, boosted by a rebound in multifamily homes.
It was sort of nothing data, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York. The continuing claims data reflects recessionary conditions and employment is always the last data point to turn in a recovery from a recession.
That doesn't mean the economy hasn't come out of a recession. It just takes a while for corporate America to turn in the other direction and start hiring again.
S&P 500 futures were off 2.3 points and were 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 fell 10 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 3 points.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)