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US Futures Near Flat as Housing Starts, Permits Jump

U.S. futures were near flat recently, having earlier been deeper in the red, after both housing starts and permits in April exceeded economists' expectations.

Housing starts in April rose 13.2% to 1.07 million compared to the consensus expectation for a 3.6% gain in the range between 940,000 and 1.05 million. March starts were revised upwards to 947,000 from the 946,000. Building permits rose 8% in April to 1.08 million compared to the consensus for a 3% gain in the range between 995,000 and 1.1 million. March permits were revised upwards to 1 million from 990,000.

At 09:55 a.m., the University of Michigan's preliminary consumer sentiment for May is expected to have risen to 84.5 from 84.1 in April.

In equities, World Wrestling Entertainment ( WWE ) shed nearly half of its market cap before the market open after saying its online-TV network won't offset lost pay-per-view and streaming video-on-demand business until 2015.

At the other end of the spectrum, the open cloud computing company Rackspace Hosting ( RAX ) was up more than 19% after saying it has hired Morgan Stanley to help it evaluate strategic proposals it has received.

JC Penney ( JCP ) was another big gainer, up 19% after posting a smaller-than-expected Q1 loss.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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