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Futures Turn Higher After Economic Reports

Futures edged into positive territory after cutting their early losses Thursday following a handful of better-than-expected housing and employment news, but gains were limited amid ongoing concerns over the euro zone.

Weekly jobless claims fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 last week, hitting a seven-month low, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 395,000 from the previously reported 390,000.

Housing starts slipped 0.3 percent, less than expected, to a seasonally adjusted rate of 628,000 units in October, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected the rate to fall to 610,000, according to a Reuters poll.

Stocks closed sharply lower in the previous session following a warning from Fitch that it may reduce its “stable” rating outlook on U.S. banks due to possible contagion from the euro zone. Banks dragged the market lower.

European markets were in negative territory as rising sovereign bond yields intensified investors’ concerns.

Yields in an auction of 10-year Spanish bonds rose to a record high since the country joined the euro zone and a French bond auction also saw high yields.

A clash between Germany and France over whether the European Central Bank should take stronger action to halt the debt crisis started afresh although the two biggest euro zone economies previously seemed to have ironed out their differences.

Among earnings, Dollar Tree edged higher after the discount store chain reported a better-than-expected profit thanks to Halloween sales.

Sears Holdings slipped after the department store posted a quarterly loss that nearly doubled amid weak demand for gadgets.

Clothing retailer Gap and chipmaker Marvell Tech are slated to post earnings after-the-bell tonight.

—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC

On Tap This Week:

THURSDAY: Philadelphia Fed survey, Fed's Pianalto speaks, Motorola Mobility votes on Google acquisition, GM IPO 1-year anniversary; Earnings from Gap, Marvell Tech
FRIDAY: Leading indicators; Earnings from Heinz

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