* Futures shrug off report of fall in weekly jobless claims
* Surge of holiday packages delays UPS shipments
* T-Mobile rises, sources say SoftBank in talks to buy
* Futures up: Dow 62 pts, S&P 2.5 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 26 U.S. stock index futures
pointed to slight gains at the open on Thursday, suggesting the
market's upward movement will continue, although trading was
expected to be light following the Christmas holiday.
Thursday is the first full day of trading since Monday,
following an early close on Tuesday and Wednesday's Christmas
holiday. Volume has been anemic, with many traders away.
The light action could amplify market volatility.
Nevertheless, markets showed an upward bias, with the Dow
pointing to a sixth straight day of gains, its longest winning
streak since March.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Tuesday.
However, further upside may be limited at these levels,
especially in the absence of major trading catalysts.
"There's nothing to drive markets decisively higher other
than continued momentum, but I don't see that stopping. It has
been a long time since we've had such an absence of headwinds,"
said Pete Benson, partner of Beacon Capital Management in
In the latest economic data, initial jobless claims fell to
the lowest level in nearly a month. The Labor Department said
claims dropped by 42,000 to 338,000. Analysts had expected the
level to be 345,000. The report had little impact on stock
Stock movers may include United Parcel Service a day
after the shipping company said poor weather and a high volume
of holiday packages delayed the arrival of Christmas presents
around the world.
Also, Amazon.com Inc offered compensation to
affected customers with shipping refunds and $20 gift cards.
"There will be a lot more active trading on this space
today, and it will be interesting to see how the negative talk
on social media influences the stock," said Benson. "However, if
this does turn out to be a big negative for shipping companies
today, I think that will just be a blip."
S&P 500 futures rose 2.5 points and were above 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 added 62
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6 points.
The S&P 500 has soared 28.5 percent this year, largely due
to stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The index is
on track for its best year since 1997. The Dow is up 24.8
percent in 2013 while the Nasdaq has jumped 37.6 percent for the
Japan's SoftBank Corp was in talks to acquire U.S.
wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc and was discussing
funding for a deal with financial institutions, sources close to
the matter told Reuters. Shares of T-Mobile rose 3.4 percent to
$33.30 in premarket trading.
In another black eye for the retail industry, the hackers
who attacked Target Corp and compromised up to 40
million credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal
encrypted personal identification numbers, a senior payments
executive told Reuters.