Stock futures turn higher after strong housing data

Stock futures turn slightly positive after headline surprises for housing starts and building permits; S&P and Nasdaq +0.2%, Dow +0.1%.

Housing starts jumped 13% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.07M units, the best reading in six months, and building permits hit their highest level since 2008.

The data didn't spark selling interest in the Treasury market; the 10-year note trades up 3 bps at 2.505%.

European markets extend recent declines; Asian markets ended mixed, with Japan's Nikkei (-1.4%) pressured as the yen strengthened.

In corporate news: Abbott Labs +1% after agreeing to buy Latin American generics company CFR Pharma, J.C. Penney +17.5% after reporting a smaller than expected loss and a bigger than expected rise in sales, and Verizon +1.2% after Warren Buffett, Daniel Loeb and John Paulson disclosed new stakes.

Still ahead: UofM consumer sentiment.

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