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U.S. Stock Index Futures Remain Lower as Jobless Claims Increase

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures remained lower after jobless claims increased more than economists’ estimated, overshadowing data that showed personal incomes grew by the most in eight years.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March dropped 0.2 percent to 1,493 at 8:32 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 16 points to 13,822. U.S. stock benchmark indexes fell from five-year highs yesterday as the economy unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter.

Initial jobless claims rose 38,000 in the week ended Jan. 26, the most since Nov. 10, to 368,000, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. Economists forecast 350,000 filings, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The increase followed a combined 45,000 drop in the prior two weeks. Personal incomes increased 2.6 percent, topping the median estimate of 0.8 percent.

Mastercard Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc. are among 38 companies on the S&P 500 Index reporting earnings today. About 75 percent of the 232 companies that have released results so far exceeded profit projections, and 66 percent have surpassed sales estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The S&P 500 has risen 5.3 percent this month, the best start of a year since 1989, as lawmakers agreed on a budget compromise and companies reported better-than-estimated earnings. The index has more than doubled from a 12-year low in 2009 as the Fed increased its bond purchases to keep interest rates low and spur growth. The S&P 500 is about 4 percent below its record of 1,565.15 set in October 2007, while the Dow is less than 2 percent from its all-time high.

Data tomorrow may show employers added 165,000 workers this month, according to economists’ projections in a Bloomberg survey. The unemployment rate probably held at 7.8 percent, the forecasts show.

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