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* Futures off: Dow 33 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 13.25 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a modestly lower open on Thursday after the S&P 500 notched its biggest gain in a month and following data on the labor market and durable goods.
Durable goods orders dropped 18.2 percent in August, the largest decline since the series started in 1992, which partially reversed the aircraft-driven 22.5 percent surge in the prior month. However, business spending plans rebounded.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000 for the week ended Sept. 20, below the 300,000 forecast, indicating an acceleration in job growth for the month.
“If you look at the jobless claims, it is still pretty much indicating that the jobs market expansion is continuing, and that is key,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
The S&P 500 snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday in a broad advance, led by healthcare and biotech stocks, with gains in the housing sector also providing support after surprisingly strong data. The index managed to successfully hold its 50-day moving average around the 1,976 mark that was tested during the lows of the session.
“Yesterday the markets certainly had a good day and indicated some of the lower levels around the S&P in the 1,970 to 1,980 region have held several times, this is an important factor,” said Cardillo. “What the market is in tune to here is the fact that the pullbacks remain shallow.”
S&P 500 e-mini futures were off 5.5 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were down 33 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were 13.25 points lower.
At 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT), financial data firm Markit will release its preliminary services Purchasing Managers Index for September. The estimate stands at 59 against the final 59.5 reading for August.
Jabil Circuit was climbing 4.6 percent to $21.80 in premarket trade after the contract electronics maker forecast current-quarter revenue and core earnings above market estimates.
Earnings are expected after the closing bell from Micron Technology and Nike Inc.
LabCorp said it had agreed to acquire LipoScience Inc for about $5.25 per share in cash, or $85.3 million, sending LipoScience shares up 62.7 percent to $5.19 before the opening bell.
Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski