Stock futures little changed

STEVE ROTHWELL AP Markets Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures were little changed Thursday, as traders waited for more news about the U.S. economy. The stock market has gained for four days straight on optimism that the economy is emerging from a winter slump.

KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures rose six points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,493 as of 9:03 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures were unchanged at 1,882. Nasdaq futures fell two points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,655.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS: The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Despite the increase, the number remains close to pre-recession levels and points to stable hiring. The government issues its March employment report on Friday.

RECORD BREAKER: The stock market is trading at record levels after some encouraging news on the economy this week. Reports on manufacturing and hiring have suggested that the economy is starting to strengthen after a lull caused by an unusually harsh winter. A survey on services will give investors a further indication about the outlook for growth.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was little changed from Wednesday at 2.80 percent. The price of oil fell 31 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $99.33 a barrel. Gold fell $6.70, or 0.5 percent, to $1,284.80.