US futures flat as investors weigh jobs, Spain

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NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as investors weighed spiking bond yields in Spain against signs of growth in the U.S. job market.

The Spanish government paid nearly 7 percent in an auction of 10-year bonds. That is the highest rate since 1997 and a level that economists see as unsustainable. Greece and Ireland each required a bailout from the European Union after their bond yields jumped above the same level.

But concerns about Europe’s debt crisis were muted in part by better economic reports in the U.S. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level in 7 months. Applications fell to 388,000, which was below Wall Street’s estimates of 395,000, but remained above the 375,000 claims that economists say signal sustained job growth.

Building permits jumped 10.9 percent, which was much higher than economists expected. That may be another sign that the U.S. economy is not headed for another recession.

Dow Jones industrial average futures edged up 4 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,849 an hour before the opening bell. S&P 500 futures fell 1, or 0.1 percent, to 1,230. Nasdaq 100 futures were unchanged at 2,312. Each index had been lower before the unemployment benefits report was released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

In corporate news, Sears Holdings Corp. fell 4.2 percent in premarket trading after its third quarter results missed Wall Street’s expectations. The retailer’s sales were dragged down by declining consumer electronics sales and softer sales at its Kmart stores.