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US stock futures mildly higher after claims

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a mildly higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with initial jobless claims rising by 28,000 to 326,000 last week and he four-week average falling by 1,000 to 322,500.

Stock futures held slight gains after the Labor Department report, while the U.S. dollar gained against currency rivals and the 10-year Treasury yield held at 2.537 percent.

Best Buy reported first-quarter earnings that beat estimates but revenue fell short of forecasts, with shares of the electronics retailer edging lower in early New York trading. Sears Holdings also declined after reporting a larger loss for the first quarter as the struggling retailer failed to halt a decline in sales. Hess shares gained in pre-market trade after refiner Marathon Petroleum said it would pay about $2.87 billion for the oil and gas producer's retail business.

April existing home sales figures will be released at 10 a.m., and should show a slight rise, building on March's gains.

"Pending home sales rose in March after having fallen for eight consecutive months, suggesting some positive momentum for existing home sales in the near term," said Barclays analysts in a research note on Thursday.

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Also due out is the Conference Board's index of leading indicators, at 10 a.m., along with weekly natural gas inventories.

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Stocks rallied on Wednesday after the publication of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting. The minutes showed central bankers had discussed ways to normalize interest rates, but had said that no rate action was in the immediate pipeline.

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