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Futures Muted Ahead of Weekly Unemployment Claims Data

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Thursday as investors looked forward to the latest weekly jobless claims report to gauge the pace of a rebound in the labor market, while also anticipating a new fiscal stimulus bill.

Official numbers are expected to show 1.415 million Americans filed for state unemployment benefits in the latest week, down slightly after two consecutive weeks of huge increases triggered fears of a stalled recovery in the labor market.

The Labor Department’s economic data comes ahead of the more comprehensive monthly jobs report on Friday.

Despite concerns about the economy, Wall Street’s main indexes are headed towards their second consecutive weekly gain, driven by heaps of fiscal and monetary stimulus and much better than feared second-quarter earnings. The S&P 500 is 2% below its February record high.

Top congressional Democrats and White House officials will try again on Thursday to find a compromise on legislation that would enable Congress to come to the aid of Americans reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At 6:17 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 50 points, or 0.18%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 2.75 points, or 0.08% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.01%.

The top decliner among components of the Nasdaq 100 index was Western Digital shares, which sank 8.9% pre-market after the hard drive maker reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and forecast a soft current quarter outlook.

Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co rose 5.7% ahead of its quarterly results.

Reporting by Medha Singh and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

Source: Reuters

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