(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
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, May 8 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
* 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
* 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
* 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)