US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of data, bank earnings

Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:26am EST

* Best Buy tumbles after holiday sales results, outlook

* BlackRock results top expectations

* Citi, Goldman Sachs earnings due

* Initial jobless claims data on tap

* Futures: Dow off 4 pts, S&P off 1.3 pts, Nasdaq up 3 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday after closing at a record high in the prior session, ahead of data on the labor market and earnings from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

* After a lackluster start to the new year on concerns stock valuations may be extended, the S&P 500 has risen 1.6 percent over the past two sessions as data indicated an improving economy, soothing concerns in the wake of a disappointing payrolls report last week.

* At 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), investors will eye initial jobless claims data for signs of strength in the labor market. Estimates call for weekly claims of 328,000, down slightly from the 330,000 reported last week.

* Earnings are due from 12 S&P 500 components on Thursday, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup Inc . BlackRock Inc shares gained 3.5 percent to $323.75 in light premarket trade after the world's largest money manager reported fourth-quarter results.

* S&P 500 futures fell 1.3 points 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 declined 4 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3 points.

* Data on manufacturing and the housing market is due later in the session at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT). The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's gauge of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region for January is expected to show a reading of 8.6 versus the 6.4 in the prior month. The National Association of Home Builders housing market index for January is expected to show a 58 reading, equal to the December reading.

* Best Buy Co Inc shares plunged 17.5 percent to $31 in premarket trade after the electronics retailer posted holiday sales results and its fourth-quarter outlook.

* Apollo Global Management LLC said it would buy CEC Entertainment Inc, the parent of Chuck E Cheese restaurant chain, for about $948 million. {ID:nL3N0KQ3CE]

* European equities edged lower early after climbing to a 5-1/2-year high in the previous session, with poor sales number from Dutch grocer Ahold and a cautious outlook from Dixons hurting retailers.

* Australian shares led the charge higher in Asia, with a gain of 1.2 percent, while MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan Index added 0.1 percent as the dollar rose to a one-week high against the yen.

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