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US stock futures little changed after data deluge; Yellen testimony in focus

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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat on Thursday as traders digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, as well as a host of data and earnings.

Yellen is set to appear before the Congress in Washington, D.C. at 10 a.m. ET. In prepared remarks, Yellen said a rate hike could be "appropriate relatively soon," adding there are dangers to waiting too long to tighten monetary policy.

She was scheduled to testify on the economy at the hearing, but is now expected to be asked about President-elect Donald Trump's plans to cut taxes and launch a hefty infrastructure spending program.

The Fed itself is also likely to be a topic of discussion. Separately, New York Fed President William Dudley, Fed Governor Lael Brainard and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans are all set to speak Thursday.

On the data front, housing starts soared more than 25 percent in October, while weekly jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since November 1973. Meanwhile, October CPI rose 0.4 percent, in line with expectations.

On the earnings front, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Staples reported before the bell. Applied Materials, Gap, Intuit and Williams-Sonoma are among companies due to report after the bell.

In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was flat on Thursday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.11 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed unchanged.

—CNBC's Patti Domm and Fred Imbert contributed to this report