Stocks index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday as oil and commodity prices regained ground, potentially benefiting shares of natural resource companies.
But gains were limited as a report showed the private sector bled more jobs in June than expected, while mortgage applications fell to a seven-month low last week.
I think what you're seeing over and over is that employment will probably be one of the last things to turn, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.
It doesn't mean things won't get better, but it does mean that by the time it does turn, it will be much more obvious that the recovery is underway.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.5 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 gained 35 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.75 points.
Oil and commodity prices, which pressured stocks in the last session as they fell in tandem with a stronger U.S. dollar, headed higher as the U.S. dollar edged down against a basket of currencies and crude futures climbed more than 2 percent back above $71 per barrel.
Exxon Mobil Corp
The ADP payroll data showed an economy still struggling as private employers cut 473,000 jobs in June, more than the 393,000 cuts expected from a Reuters survey but down from the 485,000 jobs lost in May.
Several bright spots came on the earnings front, with food maker General Mills Inc
Constellation Brands Inc
With the ADP figures in hand, investors will turn to a series of other measurements released this morning.
At 10.00 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its June manufacturing index, seen as an early sign into the health of the economy. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 44.5 compared with 42.8 in May.
The National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales for May, also at 10.00 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a flat reading.
At 10.30 a.m., the Energy Information Administration unveils its weekly petroleum stocks and output data, giving investors a clue about the demand for oil and refinery products.
Investors will also be watching the release of U.S. automakers' June auto sales for insight into the resilience of consumers. Economists in a Reuters survey expect annualized sales of 3.33 million cars and 4.00 million trucks. In May, car sales stood at 3.35 million, and truck sales were 4.03 million.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)