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Mar 6, 2014 9:27 AM by Associated Press

Stock futures rise after jobless claims data

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stock futures are pointing to a slightly higher open after the government reported the number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in three months last week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 22 points to 16,377 as of 9 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose three points to 1,875 and the Nasdaq futures were up three points also to 3,731.

JOBLESS CLAIMS: The number of people who filed for government unemployment benefits fell by 26,000 last week to a seasonally-adjusted 323,000. That was much better than the 337,000 claims economists had expected, according to FactSet.

JOBS REPORT: Investors are looking ahead to Friday, when they get February's jobs report. Expectations for the jobs numbers have been dampened by the winter storms that hit much of the country last month. Economists are looking for U.S. employers to add 145,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to hold at 6.6 percent.

WHO NEEDS OFFICE SUPPLIES?: Staples was down 12 percent in pre-market trading after the office supply chain announced it would close 225 stores in the next year to cut costs. The closures amount to 10 percent of all Staples locations.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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