MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks On Track To Edge Higher, Rebounding From Two-day Dip

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Earnings movers include Palo Alto Networks, Box, HPE

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to slight gains at the open on Thursday, after a positive read on the labor market underlined an aspect of the economy that remains strong, helping the benchmark S&P 500 rebound from a two-day decline.

S&P 500 futures rose by 2.90 points, or 0.1%, to 2,414.00, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 13 points, or 0.1%, to 21,014.00. Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 11 points, or 0.2%, to 5,803.75.

On Wednesday, the S&P , Dow , and Nasdaq Composite all closed 0.1% lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-struggle-for-direction-as-month-readies-to-close-on-a-high-note-2017-05-31), but still scored gains for the month of May. With that advance, stocks have posted strong year-to-date gains, including a rise of more than 15% in the Nasdaq. The move has raised some concerns about valuation.

"Fundamentals look good, but valuations look rich, and rich valuations need better than good fundamentals, they need very good fundamentals," said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist at Russell Investments.

The latest read on private-sector employment surged past expectations in May (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/private-sector-job-growth-rebounds-to-rip-roaring-pace-in-may-adp-says-2017-06-01), coming in well above forecasts. However, weekly jobless claims rose more than expected in the latest week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jobless-claims-climb-to-5-week-high-of-248000-2017-06-01), hitting a five-week high. The releases painted a mixed picture about what could be expected in Friday's highly anticipated nonfarm payroll report.

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Read:May hiring gains to reflect warming but not sizzling economy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-economy-seems-frozen-in-time-but-underneath-the-ice-the-water-is-warming-2017-05-28)

"The ADP number came in strong, much stronger than consensus, but there's still some softness in the data that we're seeing overall," Wood said.

Individual movers: Shares in Palo Alto Networks Inc.(PANW) look set for a big up day after the computer security company late Wednesday posted better-than-expected quarterly results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/palo-alto-networks-surge-10-on-earnings-beat-outlook-2017-05-31), and cloud-based storage company Box Inc.(BOX) also seems on track for a gain after its earnings report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/box-beats-and-raises-guidance-stock-jumps-6-2017-05-31).

See:Free cash flow is great, and AI is next, says Box CEO (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/box-ceo-aaron-levie-free-cash-flow-is-great-artificial-intelligence-is-next-2017-05-31)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.(HPE) appears on pace for a down day after the provider of computer servers late Wednesday reported weaker-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-enterprise-shares-slide-on-weaker-than-expected-earnings-2017-05-31).

Check out:Why HPE investors are wondering if they bet on the wrong horse in split (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hpe-investors-wondering-if-they-bet-on-the-wrong-horse-in-split-2017-05-31)

Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc.'s (OLLI) stock was choppy late Wednesday after the closeout retailer's results beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ollies-bargain-beats-fiscal-q1-sales-earnings-expectations-2017-05-31).

Discount retailer Dollar General Corp.(DG), apparel seller Express Inc.(EXPR) and camera maker Mobileye NV(MBLY) are among the companies expected to post earnings before the open.

Cable giant Charter Communications Inc.(CHTR) and telecom Verizon Communications Inc.(VZ) could see active trading following news that Charter rejected a $100 billion buyout offer from Verizon (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cable-giant-charter-rejected-a-100-billion-buyout-bid-from-verizon-sources-say-2017-06-01).

Economic news: Beyond the labor-market data, two May releases on manufacturing are on tap, with Markit's due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. ISM's index is expected at 10 a.m. Eastern, with a reading of 55.0% anticipated. At the same time, a report on construction spending is slated to arrive and show 0.5% growth in April.

Reports on U.S. auto sales last month are also due to roll in Thursday.

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On the monetary-policy front, Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell said it would be appropriate (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-powell-balance-sheet-may-eventually-be-halved-from-current-levels-2017-06-01) for the U.S. central bank to gradually raise interest rates if the economy performs as expected. He added that might also be appropriate if the Fed begins reducing the size of its balance sheet this year.

President Donald Trump has said he would announce his decision (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-likely-to-pull-out-of-paris-climate-deal-2017-06-01) on whether the U.S. will keep its commitments to a Paris climate accord at 3 p.m. Eastern.

See:Trump likely to pull out of Paris climate deal (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-likely-to-pull-out-of-paris-climate-deal-2017-06-01)

Other markets: Oil futures gained, but remained down for the week, after a report late Wednesday from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. crude supplies a more-than-expected 8.7 million barrels last week. That sparked hope the official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday also will show a drawdown in inventories.

European stocks were advancing, while Asia markets closed mixed. Gold futures lost ground, and a key dollar index was slightly higher.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 01, 2017 08:50 ET (12:50 GMT)