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Stock Futures Rise on Upbeat Economic Data


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street Thursday as upbeat data on U.S. jobs and housing helped offset lackluster quarterly results from Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) .

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 37 points, or 24.77 points above fair value, at 13,474. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6.25 points, or 4.47 points above fair value, at 1471. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 13.50 points, or 11.22 points above fair value, at 2739.

Bank of America reported fourth-quarter profit of $700 million, or 3 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate by a penny. Net revenue, however, came in at $18.9 billion, compared with estimates of $21 billion. Shares were off 0.25% after an initial spike in premarket trading.

Citigroup, the third-largest bank in the U.S., missed expectations in the fourth quarter, as higher legal expenses and lower reserve releases hurt profit. Shares were down more than 2%.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 12 were 335,000, a decrease of 37,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 372,000. The four-week moving average was 359,250, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's average of 366,000.

Continuing claims for the week ended Jan. 5 were 3.214 million, an increase of 87,000 from the preceding week's upwardly revised level of 3.127 million.

On average, economists were expecting initial jobless claims to slide to 365,000 and continuing claims to increase to 3.159 million.

The Census Bureau said that housing starts rose in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 from a downwardly revised 851,000 in November. Building permits rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 903,000 from an upwardly revised 900,000.

Economists were expecting housing starts to rise to a rate of 890,000 and building permits to come in at a rate of 903,000.

"This is a strong set of data even though claims does have some caveats with adjustments, so the grand strength is challenged a bit," said David Ader, a strategist with CRT. "Housing starts are quite strong and broad based and even permits, while quiet, offer more single-family gains so a bit of tone there too."

At 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook survey is expected to come in at 5.8 for January after a print of 8.1 in December.

At 12:05 p.m., Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart speaks at a business forum in New York.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.24%, while the DAX in Germany was off 0.31%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.07% as investors awaited China's fourth-quarter gross domestic product numbers. The Nikkei in Japan ticked up 0.09% as the yen weakened.