* Jobless claims data due
* Family Dollar posts weaker quarterly profit, shares fall
* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 3.5 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 9 U.S. stock index futures rose on
Thursday ahead of labor market data, with Macy's raising the bar
for retailers after a stellar holiday season.
The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless
benefits for the latest week at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).
Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 335,000 new
filings, just below the 339,000 filed in the prior week.
"In the absence of a lot of earnings news so far, economic
ones are quite important," said Rick Meckler, president of
investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City,
Macy's shares rose 6.6 percent in premarket trading a
day after the department store operator reported strong holiday
season sales and gave a preliminary forecast for 2014 that
suggests it will continue to outpace its rivals.
"The market seems to have found sound support here," said
Meckler. "The theme of a better economy seems to resonate with
investors and they continue to look for companies that will do
well in a better economy."
S&P 500 futures rose 4 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 rose 41
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.5 points.
Bed Bath & Beyond fell 9.5 percent in premarket
trading a day after lowering its fourth quarter and full-year
Family Dollar reported a weaker quarterly profit as
it discounted more than it had originally planned in order to
win holiday shoppers, sending its shares down 7.2 percent in