US STOCKS-Futures edge up ahead of data; set to close out strong quarter

Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:53am EDT
 
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* U.S. weekly jobless claims, GDP final estimate on tap

* BlackBerry posts better-than-expected results

* Futures: S&P up 1 pt, Dow up 25 pts, Dow up 6 pts

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged up on Thursday and were set to close out a strong quarter, as investors shifted focus from developments in the euro zone and Cyprus to the U.S. economy, which is expected show continued improvements.

* BlackBerry announced an unexpected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, driven by demand for its new touchscreen device which holds the key to a successful turnaround for the smartphone maker. Its shares were down 4 percent in premarket trade after being higher shortly after the results.

* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. weekly jobless claims and the final estimate of U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), both at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). Economists forecast a 0.5 percent annualized pace of growth, compared with a 0.1 percent rate in the preliminary estimate.

* Tight controls will be imposed on transactions by Cyprus's banks to limit cash withdrawals to no more than 300 euros ($380) per day, ban the cashing of cheques and bar businesses from transferring money abroad unless they can show it is to pay for imports.

* Influential proxy advisory firm ISS threw its weight behind opponents of MetroPCS Communications Inc's proposed merger with T-Mobile USA, saying the deal undervalued the company and shareholders should vote against it.   Continued...