US stock futures edge higher on jobs data

US stock futures move higher following a better-than-expected report on the labor market.

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open higher Thursday, as Wall Street returns from the Christmas holiday, helped by a report that showed less Americans were filing for unemployment benefits.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 47 points to 16,350 with 40 minutes before the opening bell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3 points to 1,832.10 and the Nasdaq futures edged up to 3,575.75.

MORE POSITIVE ECONOMIC DATA: The Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell by 42,000 people last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000 claims. The drop was far more than expected by economists, who were looking for claims to come in at 353,000.

UPS DELIVERY WOES IN FOCUS: Shares of UPS edged lower in premarket trading. UPS said its distribution network was overwhelmed in the last few days before Christmas, which led to delivery delays for thousands of packages. Amazon.com, which is one of UPS's biggest customers, said it was refunding shipping charges and giving customers a $20 credit toward future purchases to compensate customers whose packages did not arrive in time for Christmas. Amazon.com shares were slightly higher in premarket trading.

BACK TO WORK: Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market will open with normal trading hours after U.S. markets were closed Wednesday in observance of Christmas. Trading is expected to be light, however, because many traders have closed out their positions for 2013.

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