US futures flat

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WallStreet1234 Reuters. A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

New York - US stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, after the S&P 500 notched its biggest gain in over a month, as investors digested the opening round of earnings season and looked to data on the labour market.

* Bed, Bath & Beyond shares slumped 6.8 percent to $63.30 before the opening bell after the domestic merchandise retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings.

* Financials JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co will close out the week with results on Friday.

* Investors will eye weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (14:30 SA time) for signs of health in the labour market.

Expectations call for claims to fall to 320,000 versus the 326,000 reported in the prior week.

* The S&P 500 scored its biggest gain since March 4 after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed a more supportive central bank than investors had previously expected.

* In minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting published on Wednesday, several participants said forecasts “overstated the shift in the projections,” suggesting the Fed is not as eager to tighten policy as the rate forecasts had seemed to suggest.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures shed 0.25 point and were slightly 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 dipped 3 points and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 0.25 point.

* Other data due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 SA time) includes import prices for March.

Estimates call for an increase of 0.2 percent in both import and export prices for the month.

* Imperva Inc plunged 36.2 percent to $31.74 in premarket trade after the data centre security company reported preliminary fist-quarter results.

* Rita Aid Corp shares jumped 8.9 percent to $6.97 premarket after the drugstore chain posted fourth-quarter earnings and provided its full-year outlook.

* European shares turned negative in choppy trade, with traders citing a big sale of Euro STOXX 50 futures while disappointing industrial output figures from Italy and France dented sentiment.

* Asian shares hit five-month highs as investors welcomed the minutes of the Federal Reserve. - Reuters



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