Finance

Futures barely budge in holiday-shortened week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures edged higher Tuesday with the government reporting a strong uptick in construction permit requests from homebuilders last month.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 6 points to 16,068. S&P futures gained 1.3 points to 1,803.70. Nasdaq futures added 2.5 points to 3,431.50. Trading was light in the holiday-shortened week. Construction permits are an indicator of future projects and the numbers released Tuesday suggest builders are still confident that sales will continue to climb.

The Commerce Department reported that U.S. homebuilders planned to build apartments in October at the fastest pace in five years, signifying that they believe rentals will heat up in coming months. Permit applications were approved at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million. That's 6.2 percent higher than the September rate of 974,000 and the fastest since June 2008, just before the peak of the financial crisis.

Permits for single-family houses rose 0.8 percent to a rate of 620,000. Shares of homebuilders rose before the opening bell. Shares of Tiffany & Co. are up almost 7 percent on strong quarterly earnings. Profit at the luxury retailer climbed 50 percent in the third quarter thanks to strong sales in Asia.

But retail shares are mixed as a whole, with some disappointing revenue figures from DSW, the shoe seller, and bookseller Barnes & Noble.

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