Futures Wobble as Traders Digest Data

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U.S. stock-index futures budged little on Thursday as traders mulled a slew of economic data and corporate news.

Today's Markets

As of 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 12 points to 15222, S&P 500 futures dipped 2.8 points to 1652 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 2.3 points to 3004.

It was another record-setting day on Wall Street on Wednesday, as the Dow notched its twentieth all-time high of the year, and the broader S&P notched its fifteenth. Both market barometers are up more than 16% for the year.

Trading desks had earnings reports from two corporate giants to digest early in the day. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) revealed adjusted fiscal third-quarter profits of 51 cents a share, beating estimates by two cents. The networking giant's revenues of $12.2 billion narrowly topped forecasts of $12.18 billion. Shares zoomed higher on the report.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) posted first-quarter earnings of $1.14 a share on sales of $113.4 billion, shy of estimates of $1.15 a share on $116.3 billion in revenues. The world’s biggest retailer said it expects to earn between $1.22 and $1.27 a share in the second quarter, also missing forecasts of $1.29.

The economic calendar is heavy on the day, with several key reports on tap.

The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits increased to 360,000 last week from an upwardly-revised 328,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 330,000 from an initially-reported 323,000.

Another report from the Labor Department showed prices at the consumer level slid 0.4% in April from March, a steeper drop than the 0.2% economists expected, as energy prices plummeted. Excluding the food and energy components, prices rose 0.1%, slightly less than the 0.2% gain expected.

The Commerce Department's gauge of new housing starts dropped 16.5% in April from March to an annualized 853,000-unit rate. Permits for the month increased 14.3% to an annualized rate of 1,017,000 units, the highest since June 2008. The market for new homes has been bouncing back as the real-estate market recovers, but progress has been choppy.

Finally, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve releases its reading on manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region at 10:00 a.m. ET. The factory sector there is expected to have expanded at a faster pace in May than April, however, a report from on the New York region Wednesday came in far below expectations.

Elsewhere in corporate news, J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) said it has formally requested information from Bloomberg on how much access Bloomberg News journalists had to its Bloomberg financial terminals and to confirm that measures were being taken to prevent future breaches.

AMD (NYSE:AMD) was cut to "sell" from "neutral" by analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The chipmaker's shares came under heavy pressure on the news.

In commodities, gold prices fell sharply for the second day in a row. The benchmark contract dropped $23.50, or 1.7%, to $1,373 a troy ounce. Oil prices dipped 51 cents, or 0.56%, to $93.77 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.11% to $2.864 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.08% to 2812, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.23% to 2709 and the German DAX gained 0.31% to 8388.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 declined 0.39% to 15037 and the Chinese Hang Seng advanced 0.17% to 23083.