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Futures head lower; new jobs and consumer data

Thursday - 1/31/2013, 9:50am  ET

In this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, photo, specialist John O'Hara works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. An unexpected contraction in the U.S. economy at the end of 2012 weighed on world markets Thursday Jan. 31, 2013 ahead of closely-watched jobs figures. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are heading lower as the government releases new data on consumer spending and unemployment.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 13 points to 13,825. The broader S&P futures have given up 2.5 points to 1,492.80. Nasdaq futures are down 9.25 points to 2,726.50.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week jumped 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Yet applications have plunged for two weeks and the trajectory still points to more hiring.

The Commerce Department is reporting that consumer spending edged up in December and incomes rose by the largest amount in 8 years.

With consumer spending accounting for 70 percent of all U.S. economic activity, economists play close attention to their behavior to gauge the health of the economy.


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