Wall Street Looks to Stem Slide on China Data

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to gains for Wall Street after a three-day slump as strong data from China lifted traders' spirits. 

Today's Markets

As of 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 54 points to 15496, S&P 500 futures gained 5.5 points to 1694 and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 13 points to 3129.

The Dow and S&P 500 both slide for the third day in a row on Wednesday, the longest losing streak for the stock-market barometers since June. The mood was lighter on Wall Street Thursday after China posted bigger-than-expected increases in exports and imports. 

Exports from the world's second-biggest economy jumped 5.1% on a year-to-year basis. Imports, meanwhile, surged 10.9%. There have been worries that China's economic growth will slow down too quickly, and hinder expansion in the broader world economy as a result. However, these data pointed to stabilization, according to economists. 

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"The positive surprise from China’s July trade data, with both export and import growth exceeding consensus expectations, caught everyone’s attention," economists at Japan-based Nomura wrote in an email to clients.

On the U.S. front, the number of individuals applying for first-time jobless benefits rose to 333,000 last week from an upwardly-revised 328,000 the week prior. Economists expected claims to rise to 336,000 from an initially reported 326,000. The four-week moving average, which helps smooth volatility in the weekly readings, fell to its lowest level since November 2007.

Elsewhere, J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) revealed in a regulatory filing that the U.S. Justice Department has launched parallel civil and criminal probes into sales of mortgage-backed securities by the biggest U.S. bank by assets. 

U.S. oil prices dipped 19 cents, or 0.18%, to $104.18 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.15% to $1.875 a gallon. Gold ticked up $2.60, or 0.2%, to $1,288 a troy ounce. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.8% to 2817, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.4% to 6537 and the German DAX rallied 0.91% to 8335. 

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slid 1.6% to 13606 and the Chinese Hang Sent ticked up 0.31% to 21656.

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