March 28, 2013 / 11:54 AM / 4 years ago

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

4 Min Read

* 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.

* PVH Corp late on Wednesday forecast 2013 profit well short of Wall Street estimates as the clothing maker now expects its acquisition of Warnaco to drag on earnings this year due to the additional time needed to complete the integration.

* Clearwire Corp plans to notify Sprint Nextel Corp on Thursday that it will tap another $80 million of financing in April as part of its deal with the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier, two people close to the matter said.

* Swiss Re has settled a dispute with Berkshire Hathaway over a 2010 life reinsurance deal and will receive a $610 million payment from U.S. tycoon Warren Buffett's company, the Swiss reinsurer said on Thursday.

* Citigroup Inc on Wednesday won the dismissal of a lawsuit by Woori Bank over losses from mortgage-related investments, the third such defeat in a U.S. court for a South Korean bank that had been put under state control following financial crises.

* A federal judge on Wednesday said JPMorgan Chase & Co must face a lawsuit by a pension plan that accused it of mismanaging its money by investing in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc notes before that bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

* Fifteen major banks sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency over risky housing debt urged a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to intervene, citing "gravely prejudicial" rulings by the trial judge coordinating the litigation.

* Chesapeake Energy Corp's search for a new chief executive to replace Aubrey McClendon is likely to extend beyond an April 1 deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation.

* Most major U.S. metropolitan areas saw improved employment and higher housing prices in the final quarter of 2012, but output sputtered, according to a report released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution.

* S&P 500 futures added 1 point and were in line with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 25 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points.

* U.S. stocks rebounded from early declines to close little changed on Wednesday, but investors were still worried about the chance of a run on Cypriot banks and its possible implications for other euro-zone lenders.

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