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U.S. stocks were set to edge higher at Thursday's open, as investors weigh a slightly better-than-expected report on the labor market, and await additional reports on the housing and manufacturing sectors.
Economy: The number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped sharply for the second straight week to 409,000, the government said. Economists expected jobless benefits to show a drop to 420,000.
No change is expected from the April index on leading economic indicators, following a 0.4% rise the month before.
Also due Thursday the Philadelphia Fed index for May, a regional reading on manufacturing.
At 14:00 GMT the National Association of Realtors will release its April reading on existing home sales.
Companies: Sears Holdings (SHLD, Fortune 500) announced a net loss for the most recent quarter of $170 million, compared to a profit of $16 million a year ago. The loss per share came in at $1.39 for the quarter. Sears blamed bad weather and the weak economy for their performance. Earnings per share of $1.39 was worse than the $1.22 analysts expected.
Gap (GPS, Fortune 500) will report its company earnings after the close. The clothing retailer is expected to earn 39 cents per share.
Shares of Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) fell more than 1.8%, after Goldman Sachs reportedly downgraded the chipmaker on concerns about oversupply.
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