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May 16, 2014 -- 8:30 a.m. - 05/16/14

U.S. stock index futures are indicating a slightly lower open. The Dow is about 0.1% below fair value. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ are down 0.2% in early action.

Another batch of economic data is in focus. Housing starts increased by a more than anticipated 1.07 million in April, the largest advance since last November and above analyst estimates for a gain of 980,000. Meanwhile, building permits unexpectedly jumped by 8% this month to 1.08 million. After the open, the preliminary reading for May on the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey is due out at 9:55 a.m. ET and is anticipated to tick higher to a one-year high.

Earnings are also in the spotlight. J.C. Penney is rallying 19% in pre-market trading after posting a 6.2% increase in sales which easily topped analyst expectations. Fellow retailer Nordstrom also reported better-than-expected earnings results to help push its shares higher by 9.5% before the opening bell.

In other company news, Abbott Labs is up 0.8% after announcing it will buy Latin American drug maker CFR Pharmaceuticals for $2.9 billion.

In addition, Union Pacific is gaining 2% after announcing a two-for-one stock split. In fixed-income, Treasuries are down for the first time in four days. The 10-year note is off 5/32 to yield 2.51%. The 30-year bond is losing 7/32 to yield 3.34%.

This information is obtained from sources and data considered to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed by Wells Fargo Advisors.Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by two separate registered broker-dealers: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC, Members SIPC, non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company.


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