Futures gain ahead of jobs, housing data

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, supported by a rise in commodity prices, as investors braced for data on the labor market and housing.

The Labor Department will release U.S. weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), which may give more insight into the battered jobs market. A Reuters survey forecast 420,000 new filings, down from 434,000 in the prior week.

* The National Association of Realtors will report on existing-home sales for April and the Conference Board will release its index of leading economic indicators, both at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

Oil prices firmed, holding on to gains after rebounding the previous day on data showing a drop in crude stockpiles in the United States, the world's biggest consumer.

LinkedIn shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNKD . The shares sold at the top of an already raised price range in an initial public offering on Wednesday, signaling that investors are eager to buy shares of social networking companies even if valuations are lofty.

Glencore , the world's largest diversified commodities trader, made a steady market debut, with shares trading just above the widely expected launch price.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 41 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund, saying he needs to devote all his energy to fight charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.

Big Lots has decided against selling itself after bids from private equity firms did not meet the discount retailer's expectations, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citigroup raised its 2011 year-end target for the MSCI All-Country World Index <.MIWD00000PUS> to 380 from 360, and its global earnings growth forecast for the year on the back of strong reporting seasons in the United States and Europe.

Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday thanks to a rebound in commodity prices and Dell's strong earnings, but investors say stocks still face headwinds.

Wednesday's bounce gave some respite to selling that has driven the S&P 500 down nearly 2 percent this month as soft economic data put investors on the defensive.

European shares were up in morning trade, led by commodity stocks after Glencore's IPO helped boost sentiment in the sector.

(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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