* Initial jobless claims fall in latest week
* Philly Fed manufacturing data on tap
* BlackBerry jumps in premarket after earnings
* Futures up: Dow 8 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq up 3.5 pts
(Adds data, updates prices)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 19 U.S. stocks were set for a
slightly higher open on Thursday, after four straight days of
gains sent the S&P 500 to a fresh record high, as initial
jobless claims data indicated strengthening of the labor market.
* Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped
6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, slightly below the
* The benchmark S&P index is up 1.4 percent over the past
four days and notched its biggest advance in nearly a month on
Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve hinted at a slightly faster
pace of interest-rate increases starting next year but suggested
rates in the long run would be lower than it had indicated
* The gains pushed the S&P above its prior record high of
1,951.27 set on June 9.
* Later in the session, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve
will release its June manufacturing survey for the mid-Atlantic
region at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Expectations call for a reading of
14 in the main business activity index against 15.4 in May.
* Also due at 10 a.m. is the Leading Economic Index for May
from the Conference Board. Forecasts are for an increase of 0.6
percent, up from the 0.4 percent in April.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 1.5 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 slightly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average
e-mini futures rose 8 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini
futures added 3.5 points.
* U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry jumped 12.8
percent to $9.35 before the opening bell after the company
posted a first-quarter loss that was smaller than expected.
* Kroger Co, reported a better-than-expected
quarterly profit, helped by its acquisition of grocer Harris
Teeter earlier this year. Shares of the biggest U.S. supermarket
operator rose 5.4 percent to $49.80 in premarket trade.
* Measurement Specialties Inc jumped 10.8 percent
to $86.43 in premarket after the company agreed to be acquired
by Swiss-based electronics company TE Connectivity for
about $1.7 billion, including debt.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)