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Investors checking out US economic fundamentals

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Weekly jobless claims and other data on Thursday will put the U.S. economy firmly at the center of investor focus.

Initial claims for unemployment for the week of Feb. 15, released at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, are expected to increase moderately to 285,000 from 283,000 the week prior.

Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, expects a figure of about 290,000 but said the data should indicate an economy "that's adding 300,000 jobs a month."

The consumer price index also comes out at 8:30 a.m., with analysts expecting a flat read on January. Durable Goods orders at 8:30 a.m. are expected to show slight gains in January, after a 3.4 percent decline in the prior month.