US STOCKS-Futures dip after record high, ahead of data

Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:14am EST

* Best Buy tumbles after holiday sales results, outlook

* Goldman Sachs edged up after earnings

* Initial jobless claims, CPI data on tap

* Futures: Dow off 24 pts, S&P down 3.8 pts, Nasdaq down 2.25 pt

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures dipped on Thursday after closing at a record high in the prior session, ahead of data on the labor market and inflation along with another round of earnings reports.

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 and the December consumer price index for signs of strength in the labor market and inflation.

Estimates call for weekly claims of 328,000, down slightly from the 330,000 reported last week. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy components is expected to rise 0.1 percent versus the 0.2 percent increase in November.

"We've been watching for disinflation for quite some time so it is really important to keep an eye on this because the Fed is keeping an eye on this and it could really move in the markets today, especially if it comes in lower," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Earnings are due from 12 S&P 500 components on Thursday. Goldman Sachs gained 0.2 percent to $179.10 and BlackRock Inc shares gained 4.1 percent to $325.50 premarket trade after fourth-quarter results.

However, Citigroup Inc dropped 2.7 percent to $53.51 after its quarterly results.

"(Earnings) is the stuff that the stock market really should react to and I am happy earnings season is here and we are getting diverse information," said Forrest.

S&P 500 futures fell 3.8 points and were 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 24 points and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 2.25 point.

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 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 December's.

Best Buy Co Inc shares plunged 27.5 percent to $27.24 in premarket trade after the electronics retailer posted holiday sales results and its fourth-quarter outlook.

Dow component UnitedHealth Group Inc advanced 1 percent to $75.60 in premarket trade after the largest U.S. health insurer reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and the addition of 170,000 members, and said 2014 earnings would improve as well.

CSX Corp lost 3.5 percent to $28.20 before the opening bell after the railroad late Wednesday posted a smaller fourth-quarter profit on weak coal volume.

Apollo Global Management LLC said it would buy CEC Entertainment Inc, the parent of Chuck E Cheese restaurant chain, for about $948 million. CEC shares climbed 11.6 percent to $54.06 before the opening bell. {ID:nL3N0KQ3CE]

European equities steadied just below a 5-1/2-year high, with mining shares boosted by output data and broker comments offsetting losses in retail and technology stocks.

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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