US STOCKS-Futures tick up ahead of claims, prices data
* Futures up: Dow 18 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts
NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, ahead of labor and producer prices data, as the market struggled to make further advances after the Dow industrials closed up for a ninth straight session a day earlier.
* The S&P 500 closed about 10 points away from a record high, as investors tried to find reasons to keep the rally going. The Dow has risen for nine straight days, a streak not seen since late 1996. Over the last two days, however, its gains have been less than 0.1 percent.
* "It feels like the market is losing some strength," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. "There's not huge news out there that could drive the market today."
* S&P 500 futures rose 3 points but 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 rose 18 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
* Amazon shares fell 2 percent in light premarket trading after JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock to neutral from overweight and lowered its price target to $300 from $333.
* China Mobile said it plans to spend $6.7 billion to develop 4G technology this year, hoping to tap pent-up demand for Apple phones as it gets an iPhone model that will run on its network.
* The U.S. Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 350,000 new filings compared with 340,000 in the prior week.
* The Producer Price Index for February is expected at the same time. Economists forecast a 0.7 percent rise compared with a 0.2 percent rise in January. Excluding food and energy items, PPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent, the same as in January.
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