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Wall Street off to a mixed start as jobless claims unexpectedly rise

The main indices on Wall Street opened on a mixed note on Thursday following an unexpected rise in US jobless claims numbers. Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.15% at 34,745 while the S&P 500 inched up 0.05% to 4,360 and the Nasdaq rose 0.25% to 14,668. The uncertain start followed news that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to 419,000 last week from 368,000 the previous week, upending analyst predictions of a drop to 350,000. The increase keeps weekly claims near their level of two months ago, which means there has been little improvement despite signs of the job market recovering. 7:45am: Wall Street to open higher Wall Street is set for a positive start, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average looking at a third day of gains. The Dow is forecast to rise by 97 points or 0.27% at the open, while the S&P 500 is expected to climb 0.23% and the Nasdaq Composite is indicated 0.17% higher. A generally positive reporting season seems to have persuaded investors to shrug off concerns about the Delta variant. That has continued today to a degree, with AT&T shares up 1.4% in premarket after its results beat forecasts. But Texas Instruments Inc (NYSE:TXN) is down 4.9%. It too did better than expected in the second quarter but its outlook for the third quarter missed analyst targets, amid a global chip shortage. After the market closes, results from Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) are due. Meanwhile, US weekly jobless claims are expected to show a dip from 360,000 to 350,000. Four things to watch for on Thursday: Notable firms in the earnings diary today include computer processor maker Intel Corp (NASDAQ:INTC), healthcare firm Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) (NYSE:ABT) and medical device maker Danaher (NYSE:DHR) Corp (NYSE:DHR) Video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:ATVI) is likely to draw attention after it was hit with a lawsuit by the state of California over an alleged “frat boy culture” at the group as well as harassment and discrimination against women Meanwhile, shares in chemical firm Dow Inc (NYSE:DOW) could also be in focus after the group swung into profit amid better than expected On the macro front, aside from US jobless claims there may be some interest in more home sales data