Wall Street was set for a near 1 percent opening gain on Thursday following four days of losses in the S&P 500 after data showed the U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third-quarter and corporate profits reassured investors.
The economy grew for the first time in a year as consumer spending and investment in new home-building rebounded, unofficially ending the worst recession in 70 years. For details, see
Futures were also boosted after bellwethers Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) and Motorola Inc (MOT.N) reported quarterly profits.
The S&P 500 has fallen more than four percent in as many days as investors questioned whether its seven-month run up was due for a pullback. There are also concerns about how the economy will fare when global central banks begin withdrawing extraordinary stimulus measures.
Investors looking for confirmation the economy is stabilizing had pegged their hopes on the gross domestic product report.
This is a positive sign that the stimulus is working. If we had pumped in trillions and then saw a negative number, that would be an incredibly bad sign for the markets, said Dan Cook, senior market analyst at IG Markets in Chicago.
S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 10.4 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 DJc1 gained 79 points, while Nasdaq futures NDc1 added 18.40 points.
The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits dipped last week, while the number collecting long-term aid fell to the lowest reading in seven months.
Motorola jumped 6.3 percent to $8.46 in premarket action after it posted a small profit and forecast a bigger-than-expected profit in the current quarter.
Procter & Gamble gained 3.2 percent to $59.04 after it reported results and said it has modestly higher expectations for growth in the industry even as consumer spending remains conservative.
But not all of the earnings reports were rosy. Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) fell 2.1 percent to $72.27 after reporting a quarterly profit that fell short of expectations as the global recession hit fuel demand.