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US stock futures inch up as oil slips

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) U.S. stock futures edged higher on Thursday as oil prices slipped, but investors were cautious before economic data on durable goods and home sales.

Investors will look to reports on U.S. durable goods orders and new home sales for signs on whether higher interest rates and oil prices have started to hurt consumer spending and economic growth.

On Wednesday, data showing existing home sales at their lowest level in more than two years pushed stocks lower.

Rite Aid Corp., the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, said it will buy the Brooks and Eckerd drugstore chains from Canada's Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. for about NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) U.S. stock futures edged higher on Thursday as oil prices slipped, but investors were cautious before economic data on durable goods and home sales.

Investors will look to reports on U.S. durable goods orders and new home sales for signs on whether higher interest rates and oil prices have started to hurt consumer spending and economic growth.

On Wednesday, data showing existing home sales at their lowest level in more than two years pushed stocks lower.

Rite Aid Corp., the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, said it will buy the Brooks and Eckerd drugstore chains from Canada's Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. for about $2.6 billion in cash and stock. For details, see ID:nWEN4446 McDonald's Corp. late on Wednesday said President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Roberts, who the company had credited with revitalizing its U.S. business, resigned suddenly after 29 years with the hamburger chain. ID:nN23361228.

''Right now the market needs a clear vision of what economically is happening,'' said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey. ''The market doesn't want things too slow, but it doesn't want things too hot.'' S&P 500 futures were up 0.8 point, slightly above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were unchanged.

Oil slipped further below $72 a barrel, extending the previous day's 2 percent slide started by surprising increase in U.S.

gasoline stocks. U.S. crude was down 10 cents at $71.66.

The Commerce Department releases data on July durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) and July new home sales at 10 a.m.

(1400 GMT).

For home sales, economists forecast a median total of 1.100 million annualized units in July compared with 1.131 million in June. Economists expect a median fall in durable goods orders of 0.5 percent and a 0.5 percent rise excluding defense orders.

After the bell on Wednesday, Chico'S FAS, Inc., a women's apparel retailer, gave a disappointing full-year profit forecast.

ID:nN23363285 On Thursday, brokerage UBS cut its rating on the stock.

Shares of Chico's slid 16 percent to $20.22 on the Inet electronic brokerage system from $24.08 on the NYSE.

On Wednesday, stocks fell after the housing report, while Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions added to the market's negative tone.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI> was down about 41.94 points, or 0.37 percent, to end at 11,297.90. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index .SPX> was down 5.83 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 1,292.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC> was down 15.36 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 2,134.66.

REUTERS DKS ND1710 .6 billion in cash and stock. For details, see ID:nWEN4446 McDonald's Corp. late on Wednesday said President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Roberts, who the company had credited with revitalizing its U.S. business, resigned suddenly after 29 years with the hamburger chain. ID:nN23361228.

''Right now the market needs a clear vision of what economically is happening,'' said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey. ''The market doesn't want things too slow, but it doesn't want things too hot.'' S&P 500 futures were up 0.8 point, slightly above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were unchanged.

Oil slipped further below a barrel, extending the previous day's 2 percent slide started by surprising increase in U.S.

gasoline stocks. U.S. crude was down 10 cents at .66.

The Commerce Department releases data on July durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) and July new home sales at 10 a.m.

(1400 GMT).

For home sales, economists forecast a median total of 1.100 million annualized units in July compared with 1.131 million in June. Economists expect a median fall in durable goods orders of 0.5 percent and a 0.5 percent rise excluding defense orders.

After the bell on Wednesday, Chico'S FAS, Inc., a women's apparel retailer, gave a disappointing full-year profit forecast.

ID:nN23363285 On Thursday, brokerage UBS cut its rating on the stock.

Shares of Chico's slid 16 percent to .22 on the Inet electronic brokerage system from .08 on the NYSE.

On Wednesday, stocks fell after the housing report, while Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions added to the market's negative tone.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI> was down about 41.94 points, or 0.37 percent, to end at 11,297.90. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index .SPX> was down 5.83 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 1,292.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC> was down 15.36 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 2,134.66.

REUTERS DKS ND1710

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