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Wall Street Headed for Flat Opening; Global Stocks Edge Higher

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stock futures are sitting flat Thursday ahead of more key earnings reports and a slew of economic data.

The day before, stocks closed at their highest level since last July.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 97 points on Wednesday to end at 12,579, the Nasdaq advanced 42 points to close at 2,770, and the S&P 500 gained 14 points to finish at 1,308.

The results of fourth quarter earnings for big companies like Bank of America and Morgan Stanley will likely drive Wall Street up or down on Thursday.  The figures are being released before trading commences for the day.

Investors will also be keeping a close eye on the Labor Department's weekly report on jobless claims, as well as data on consumer prices and housing starts for December.

Overseas, European stocks are trading higher Thursday and Asian ones mostly closed up.  China’s Shanghai Composite rose 1.31 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.30 percent, South Korea’s Kospi added 1.19 percent, and Japan's Nikkei index gained 1.04 percent.  Australia’s S&P/ASX 200, on the other hand, dropped 0.07 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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