Futures Pointing To Modestly Higher Open On Wall Street

(RTTNews) - With traders digesting another mixed batch of U.S. economic data, stocks could turn in yet another lackluster performance during trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 26 points.

While the Commerce Department recently released a report showing a bigger than expected decrease in housing starts in the month of July, the report also showed a substantial increase in building permits, which are seen as an indicator of future housing activity.

The report showed that housing starts fell 1.1 percent to an annual rate of 746,000 in July from the revised June estimate of 754,000. Economists had expected housing starts to dip to 750,000 from the 760,000 originally reported for the previous month.

At the same time, the Commerce Department said building permits surged up by 6.8 percent to an annual rate of 812,000 in July from the revised June rate of 760,000. Building permits had been expected to climb to 766,000.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims came in slightly higher than anticipated in the week ended August 11th, although claims appear to have stabilized following recent volatility.

The report showed that initial jobless claims crept up to 366,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 364,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 365,000 from the 361,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A mixed reaction to quarterly results from Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Wal-Mart (WMT) could also lead to choppy trading on Wall Street.

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