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US futures mixed before housing data

Thursday - 3/21/2013, 10:58am  ET

In this March 19. 2013, photo, specialist Joseph Dreyer, left, works with traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets stalled Thursday March 21, 2013 as uncertainty mounted over whether Cyprus can stave off bankruptcy after the country's government rejected a plan to contribute to a bailout by seizing money from people's bank accounts. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures were mixed Thursday, with the government reported that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week barely moved.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 16 points to 14,424. S&P futures have tacked on 0.60 points to 1,550. Nasdaq futures slipped 2.25 points to 2,783.

The Labor Department said that assistance applications rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, which is better than most had expected.

Economists rely more on the four-week average, and that number actually fell 7,500 to 339,750.

It's the smallest number of applications since February 2008, which was about the time that the economy began to seize up.

The employment picture is improving in part because the nation's housing sector has bounced back so quickly.

Homebuilding permits jumped to their highest level in 4
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