Stock Futures Flat After Jobless Claims Data

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were trading near the flat line Wednesday after domestic weekly initial jobless claims came in as expected and as discussions on Greece hit an impasse

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3 points, or 6.96 points below fair value, at 12,756. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1.29 points, or 3.36 points above fair value, at 1387. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2 points, or 1.12 points above fair value, at 2595.

The major U.S. equity averages closed mixed Tuesday, paring losses that followed in the wake of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke weighing in on the fiscal cliff.

Eurozone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank failed at their meeting this week to reach a consensus on how Greece could achieve debt sustainability and a lowering of the financing gap of €14 billion through 2014; they were aiming for an agreement to be reached before unlocking additional financial aid for Greece.

Talks are scheduled to reconvene on Monday.

"Judging by the reaction of futures this morning, investors share our sense of 'ho hum' about the Greece news," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "It's important to remember that the ultimate goal of these negotiations is to reduce the debt burden to somewhere around 120% of GDP. That is a terribly high number and the math used to get Greece to that debt level is ambitious despite the considerable progress that Greece has made over the last several years."

"Ultimately, we like many others see no way Greece can return to debt sustainability without further write downs of outstanding debt, including obligations in the hands of the public sector," he added.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 17 fell 41,000 to an as-expected 410,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 451,000.

The four-week moving average was 396,250, an increase of 9,500 from the previous week's average of 386,750.

Continuing claims for the week ended Nov. 10 fell 30,000 to 3.337 million from the prior week's upwardly revised level of 3.367 million. Economists, on average, were expecting continuing claims to come in at 3.345 million.

"Jobless claims remained above the 400k mark despite the sharp 41k drop in the pace of initial jobless filings to 410k," said Millan Mulraine, an economist at TD Securities. "The decline comes on the heels of the upwardly revised pop to 451k the week before. The elevated level of claims is due in part to the continuing impact of Hurricane Sandy, which will likely continue to distort the data for another few weeks."

At 9:55 a.m., the final read on University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for November is forecast to come in at 84.5, down from the 84.9 preliminary reading.

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