Futures mixed after factory data comes in healthy

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures were mixed Thursday on new jobs numbers and a strong report about factory activity.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 7,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, but the more reliable four-week number dipped again.

Hiring trends have been moving in a positive direction throughout the year and with weekly statistics being so volatile, the latest report does not alter the trajectory of an improving jobs market.

The increase in the weekly applications comes after a huge drop during the previous week.

Dow Jones industrial futures fell 72 points to 15,428. S&P futures lost 7.20 points to 1,676.50. Nasdaq futures rose 2.25 points to 3,050.25.

General Motors beat Wall Street’s profit expectations Thursday, as Ford did on the previous day, as strong sales at home offset waning sales in Europe.

Harley-Davidson also beat out most projections, with worldwide motorcycle sales rising 5.2 percent. U.S. dealers sold 58,241 new motorcycles during the quarter, up 4.4 percent compared with last year.

The parent of United Airlines also did better than most had expected as profit rose 38 percent.

Southwest shares edged lower as profits slipped.

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