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Wall Street set to open flat as earnings roll in

By msnbc.com news services

U.S. stock futures edged higher Wednesday as investors sorted through mixed corporate earnings results amid reports on the U.S. economy.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow futures were up 12, or 0.1 percent, to 11,538. S&P 500 futures were up less than a point to 1,223. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 14, or 0.6 percent, to 2,349.

AMR Corp., American Express Co. and eBay Inc. are among the companies reporting third quarter results Wednesday. Apple Inc. fell 5 percent in premarket trading after the company missed Wall Street estimates when it reported its results late Tuesday.

In economic news, a report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. housing starts surged in September at their fastest annual pace in 17 months on a big increase in groundbreaking for multi-family units, while permits for future construction fell, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Also, a report released Wednesday showed consumers paid more for food and gas last month, although inflation outside those volatile categories was tame.

The Labor Department says the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in September, below a 0.4 percent rise in August. Excluding food and energy, so-called core prices increased 0.1 percent, the smallest rise since March.

Inflation has worsened this year, after the cost of oil, grains and other commodities spiked in the spring. But economists expect price increases to moderate as weak growth lowers commodity prices.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.