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Futures Fall Slightly After Inflation News

Stock index futures moved slightly lower after the government reported a slightly higher-than-expected gain in consumer prices before the opening bell Thursday.

The consumer price index rose 0.4 in January, while the core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2 percent, the Labor Department reported. Econmists surveyed by Reuters had expected the overall CPI to rise by 0.3 percent, and the core CPI to rise 0.1 percent.

The government also reported that initial claims for unemployment rose more than expected last week. Claims rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 410,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected claims to rise to 400,000 from the previously reported 383,000. The government revised last weeks figure upward to 385,000.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims to by 1,750 to 417,750.

Oil prices gainedamid unrest in the Middle East, including news that police stormed a square filled with peaceful protesters in Bahrain. Brent crude rose to near $104 a barrel, while U.S. light sweet crude rose above $85 a barrel.

Meanwhile, gold held steady at$1,380 an ounce. The dollar fell slightly against a basket of currencies as the euro rose.

In earnings news, Duke Energy gained in pre-market trading despite reporting earnings results of 21 cents-a-share that fell shy of analyst expectations for 23 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

And shares of Apache dropped after the independent oil and gas company released results that fell short of expectations. Apache has operations in Egypt, but the company said they have not been affected by the political unrest.

Nordstrom , Clearwire and CF Industries report after the bell.

The U.S. Treasury also will auction $9 billion in new 30-year Treasury inflation-protected securities, known as TIPS, on Thursday.

Several regulators are set appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. to discuss the progress they are making on implementing the Dodd-Frank Act.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, and John Walsh, acting Comptroller of the Currency, are among the speakers.

And Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies again on the federal budget before the Senate Budget committee at 10 a.m.

The U.S. Treasury also will auction $9 billion in new 30-year Treasury inflation-protected securities, known as TIPS, on Thursday.

Several regulators are set appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. to discuss the progress they are making on implementing the Dodd-Frank Act.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, and John Walsh, acting Comptroller of the Currency, are among the speakers.

And Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies again on the federal budget before the Senate Budget committee at 10 a.m.

Before the European market open, Nestle reported an acceleration in underlying sales to 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter and said it was confident of achieving 5-6 percent sales growth in 2011.

France’s biggest bank BNP Paribas reported a rise in fourth-quarter profit, but missed forecasts.

On the Calendar:

THURSDAY: Leading indicators, Philadelphia Fed survey, Chicago Fed President speaks, money supply.
FRIDAY: Earnings before-the-bell from Campbell Soup.

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