Stock futures rose modestly on Thursday as Treasuries steadied after a jump in yields, while data on the labor market was expected later in the morning.
Treasuries prices edged higher following a recent selloff that pushed benchmark yields to six-month highs on Wednesday. Higher bond yields make it more expensive for consumers and businesses to borrow, a potential problem for the still-fragile economic recovery.
The weekly jobless claims report is on tap for 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) and is expected to show first-time claims improved slightly to 425,000 from 436,000 the week before. Wholesale inventories data for October is due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), and anticipated to gain 0.9 percent compared with an increase of 1.5 percent the month before.
The jobless claims data will come on the heels of last week's larger nonfarm payrolls report that showed the economy added far fewer jobs than expected in November.
Analysts are betting the market will rally into year-end, though stocks may trade sideways in the short term after strong gains since the beginning of the month.
There's been some chit-chat in articles and on TV about the underperformance of active managers that might want to show a little better results. So they might be the marginal buyer that push up the stock market, said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,228.28 Wednesday right around a key resistance level that represents the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the 2007-2009 bear market slide, a key technical indicator. Decisive gains above this level could turn it into support for the index and open the way for more advances.
S&P 500 futures added 3.7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 30 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5.75.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson
Shares of United Parcel Service Inc
A compromise plan by U.S. President Barack Obama to broadly extend tax cuts moved forward on Wednesday despite opposition from his own Democrats.
Stocks edged higher Wednesday as gains in financial and technology stocks offset declines caused by a recent surge in bond yields.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)