Stock futures move higher before the opening bell

STEVE ROTHWELL AP Markets Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock index futures were slightly higher before the opening of trading on Wall Street Friday as investors assessed another round of company earnings and news on the economy.

KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 25 points to 16,349 about 30 minutes before the opening bell. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures were up 1.4 points to 1,837 and the Nasdaq futures gained 0.75 points to 3,594.75.

UNEXPECTED DELIVERY: United Parcel Service fell $3.09, or 3.1 percent, to $97.39, after the company said its earnings would be lower than it previously forecast because it misjudged holiday demand. The package delivery service said an "unprecedented" level of online shopping included a surge of last-minute orders, forcing it to use more temporary employees than it had planned to.

THE ECONOMY: U.S. home construction slowed in December but ended 2013 with the best showing since the housing bubble burst. Builders broke ground last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, the Commerce Department said Friday. That's 9.8 percent lower than November's pace of 1.12 million, the fastest in five years.

TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.84 percent. The price of oil rose 80 cents, or 0.85 percent, to $94.76 a barrel. Gold climbed $7.40, or 0.6 percent, to $1,247.60 an ounce.

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