US Stock Futures Suggest Higher Open Ahead Of Jobless Claims Report, PPI, Corporate Earnings

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NYSE Nov 9 2011
New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday ahead of the publication of the weekly U.S. jobless claims report, producers price inflation data and corporate earnings statements from companies such as GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) and Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU).

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.15 percent, and those on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.11 percent, while futures on the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 0.08 percent.

U.S. stocks, which gained following stronger-than-expected retail sales and inflation data, closed lower on Wednesday after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed the central bank could begin to scale down its bond-buying program in two to three months.

However, On Thursday, stock futures moved significantly higher as investors awaited a slew of economic data from the U.S., even as disappointing manufacturing data from China and France and concerns over the Fed’s QE policy dampened investor sentiment in European and Asian markets.

Investors are likely to focus on the Department of Labor's PPI -- the leading indicator of consumer price inflation -- for October, which will be published at 8:30 a.m. EST. The PPI, which measures the change in the price of goods sold by manufacturers, is estimated to drop 0.2 percent in October after declining 0.1 percent in the previous month.

The Core PPI for July, also released by the Department of Labor on Wednesday, measures the change in the selling price of goods and services sold by producers, excluding food and energy, and it's likely to remain flat at 1 percent.  

The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is scheduled to be released by the Department of Labor at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists predict that claims are likely to decrease to 335,000 for the week ended Nov. 16, down marginally from 339,000 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, economists expect continuing jobless claims data, which measures the number of unemployed individuals who qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, to show a marginal decrease to 2.870 million from the 2.874 million recorded in the previous week.

In addition, quarterly earnings reports from large companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), GameStop Corp., Target Corporation, Dollar Tree Inc., Aruba Networks Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN), Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), the Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), Intuit Inc, Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) and Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLK) are scheduled to be released on Thursday.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.25 percent, France's CAC-40 was trading down 0.43 percent, Germany’s DAX-30 was down 0.34 percent and the FTSE was up 0.7 percent.

Asian stock markets, other than Japan’s Nikkei, traded lower on Thursday. The Nikkei ended up 1.92 percent after the Bank of Japan maintained the pace of its massive monetary stimulus program and the yen weakened against dollar.

In China, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.51 percent, and the Shanghai Composite index ended flat.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.37 percent, South Korea’s Kospi index was down 1.16 percent and India’s BSE Sensex closed down 1.97 percent. 

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