US STOCKS-Futures climb ahead of data, Russian sanctions in focus

Thu Aug 7, 2014 8:11am EDT

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* BofA nears Justice Dept deal, to pay near $16.5 bln

* Jobless claims data due

* Futures up: Dow 26 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 4 pts

NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged up on Thursday ahead of jobless claims data, amid a backdrop of an escalation of tensions as Russia banned Western food imports in retaliation against Western sanctions.

* Data on weekly applications for U.S. unemployment insurance is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Initial claims are seen rising marginally to 305,000 in the latest week.

* Moscow imposed a ban on imports of many Western foods on Thursday, retaliating against sanctions imposed for its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Russia will ban fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway in a measure that isolates its consumers from world trade to a degree unseen since Soviet days.

* The sanctions are seen as possibly hurting European economies more than the United States due to closer ties between Russia and Europe. Such a scenario could eventually favor U.S. equities and other assets as foreign cash looking for yield would likely make its way to the world's largest economy. The full extent of the impact, however, is still hard to pin down.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 4 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 26 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 4 points.

* Twenty-First Century Fox reported a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street's expectations and executives stressed that they would not make a new approach for Time Warner Inc after withdrawing an $80-billion bid. Fox shares rose 5.3 percent in premarket trading.

* Bank of America is close to a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay more than $16.5 billion to end investigations into mortgage securities that the bank and companies it bought had sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

* Generic drug maker Mylan narrowed its full-year revenue and earnings forecast, citing delays in U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of key products and its shares fell 0.9 percent in light premarket trading. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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