Wall Street is edging higher following a government report showing claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week.
The Labor Department says initial applications for unemployment benefits fell by 94,000 to 492,000 for the week ending Dec. 27. The drop, which partly reflects seasonal adjustment difficulties tied to the Christmas holiday, is a greater drop than analysts had been expecting.
However, the number of people still claiming benefits has climbed to the highest level since 1982.
Dow Jones industrial average futures, which had been flat ahead of the reading, rose 18, or 0.21 percent, to 8,658. Other stock futures were mixed as Wall Street looks to end a dreadful year.