U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday as merger and acquisition activity lifted sentiment before data expected to show another month of private-sector job creation.
Gains may be limited by uncertainties over Japan's nuclear power situation and civil unrest in oil-producing regions. Trading volume has been weak, with Tuesday's the second-lowest of the year, suggesting shaky investor confidence as the quarter ends on Thursday.
Overseas, Japanese stocks hit their highest level since a post-earthquake sell-off as the yen weakened, while European shares hit a three-week high on strength in mining shares.
The ADP employment report, to be released at 8:15 a.m., is expected to show 203,000 private-sector jobs were created in March, fewer than in February. While the report doesn't have a high correlation with Friday's closely watched non-farm payrolls report by the Labor Department, a good ADP number could increase optimism about the labor market.
The ADP number is important, but even if it's positive we could sell on the news, given that markets are overbought and the significant decline in volume we've seen, said James Dailey, portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International late Tuesday
The bid follows AT&T Inc's
From a purely market perspective, this is encouraging as it shows confidence is picking up in corporate America, Dailey said.
Dow component DuPont
S&P 500 futures rose 6.7 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 added 55 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 15.25 points.
Family Dollar Stores Inc
Tibco Software Inc
Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T>
Strength in energy lifted U.S. stocks on Tuesday as investors concentrated on adding to winning positions, but uncertainty kept trading volume light.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)