US stock futures barely budge on Wall Street

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — US stock futures are little changed Thursday, following news that claims for unemployment benefits slipped last week and Alcoa plans to buy a manufacturer of airplane parts. The stock market remains near all-time highs.

KEEPING SCORE: A half hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 2 points at 16,773.

Standard & Poor's 500 index futures are down less than a point at 1,949, while Nasdaq 100 futures are up two points at 3,816.

JOBS: The government said that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the latest evidence that an economic slowdown earlier this year hasn't caused employers to shed workers. The unemployment rate is 6.3 percent, the lowest level in more than five years.

HEAVY METAL: Alcoa plans to acquire Firth Rixson, a British maker of jet-engine parts, for $2.9 billion, as the company continues to shift away from its aluminum-smelting roots. Alcoa's stock rose 59 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $15.14 in premarket trading.

EUROPE: Major European markets wavered around the start line Thursday. France's CAC 40 edged up 0.1 percent while Germany's DAX slipped 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British companies was flat.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: In the market for government bonds, the yield on the 10-year note dropped to 2.53 percent from 2.56 percent late Wednesday. Bond yields fall when prices rise. The price of crude oil inched up 30 cents to $106.20 a barrel.