REFILE-US STOCKS-Wall St set for flat open after claims data; Yellen due

Thu May 8, 2014 9:15am EDT

(Adds dropped word in headline)

* Yellen to testify before Senate Budget Committee

* Priceline, Tesla drop after results, outlook

* Futures: Dow up 12 pts, S&P off 2 pts, Nasdaq off 11.25 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open little changed on Thursday, after initial jobless claims data pointed to a possible strengthening in the labor market and ahead of testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

* Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 319,000 for the week ended May 3, snapping three weeks of declines. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits to fall to 325,000 last week.

* Fed Chair Yellen is set to testify on the economic outlook before the Senate Budget Committee at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). On Wednesday, Yellen said a slumping housing market and geopolitical tensions risk undermining the U.S. economy and bear close watching by the Federal Reserve in testimony to the Joint Economic Committee.

* Investors continued to monitor the situation in Ukraine, which remained unstable. A Kremlin spokesman said Russia needed more information and additional analysis after pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine snubbed President Vladimir Putin and said they would go ahead with a secession referendum planned for Sunday.

* Priceline Group Inc shares lost 3.8 percent to $1,088.51 before the opening bell after the online travel agency forecast second-quarter results below market estimates.

* Tesla Motors Inc tumbled 11.1 percent to $179 in premarket trading after it offered an outlook for the second quarter on Wednesday that disappointed some investors.

* Of the 422 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 68.2 percent beat expectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994, and exceeding the 66 percent beat rate for the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Profits are expected to rise 5 percent this quarter, down from 6.5 percent estimated at the start of the year, but above the low of 0.6 percent in mid-April, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures lost 2 points and were roughly even with 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 e-mini futures added 12 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 11.25 points.

* Twitter Inc gained 1.3 percent to $31.05 and Yelp Inc edged up 0.7 percent to $53.09 in premarket trade after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on both of the social media companies. Social media companies, many of which have been momentum-driven names, have been under pressure recently. The Global X Social Media Index ETF has fallen more than 14 percent since April 22.

* McDonald's Corp said worldwide sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 1.2 percent last month, in line with analysts' average estimate.

* Costco Wholesale Corp said April same-store sales rose 5 percent, helped by higher gasoline prices, sending shares up 1.2 percent to $113.30 in premarket trading. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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