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Futures Narrowly Mixed After Jobless Claims

Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 | 9:16 AM ET

Stock index futures hovered around the flatline Thursday following the weekly jobless claims report, while uncertainty in Cyprus kept investors on edge.

Weekly jobless claims rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, according to the Labor Department, but a trend reading dropped to its lowest in five years and pointed to ongoing healing in the labor market. Economists expected a reading of 342,000, according to a Reuters survey.

Stocks climbed on Wednesday after the Fed reassured investors it would continue to support the economy.

Also on the economic front, the National Association of Realtors will issue February existing home sales at 10am ET, with economists polled by Reuters expecting a gain of 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.0 million units. The Philadelphia Fed index for March is estimated to show a reading of -2.0, a less negative reading than the prior month's -12.5.

And the Conference Board's index of leading indicators is expected to show an increase of 0.4 percent for February, according to a Reuters survey, following a 0.2 percent rise in January.

In Europe, shares were lower in morning trade on Thursday as data showed business activity in Germany, the euro zone's economic powerhouse, slowed in March. Cyprus also remained a serious cause for concern. The country's leaders are considering options to avert a looming default, including nationalizing pension funds, a levy on deposits over 100,000 euros and some form of help from Russia, according to reports.

Hewlett-Packard boosted its quarterly dividend by 10 percent to 14.52 cents a share. The news came a day after H-P's board members were re-elected, but shareholders remained disappointment over the company's $11 billion purchase of British software firm Autonomy.

Among earnings, Lululemon posted a profit that topped expectations, but the yogawear maker said it expects earnings to decline in the current quarter due to the see-through yoga pants recall earlier this week.

KB Home rallied after the homebuilder posted a narrower-than-expected loss and a gain in new home orders.

Nike and Micron are expected to post earnings after the closing bell.

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

THURSDAY: FHFA home price index, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators, natural gas inventories, Fed balance sheet/money supply; Earnings from Nike, Micron,
FRIDAY: Fed Governor Raskin speaks, Blackberry Z10 on sale via AT&T; Earnings from Darden Restaurants, Tiffany

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