Stock Futures Climb After ECB Cuts Rates

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U.S. stock-index futures advanced on Thursday after the European Central Bank shocked traders by slicing its benchmark interest rate.

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As of 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 83 points, or 0.53%, to 15766, S&P 500 futures advanced 7.3 points, or 0.42%, to 1773 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 8.5 points, or 0.25%, to 3384.

Amid all the conversation about the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, the ECB surprised market participants by taking a play from the traditional monetary policy play book. The powerful central bank sliced its main refinancing rate by 0.25 percentage point to a record low of 0.25%. The move immediately sent the euro plunging and stock-index futures climbing. 

Elsewhere on the economic front, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 2.8% in the third quarter, topping estimates of 2%. 

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The Labor Department reported new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 336,6000 from an upwardly revised 345,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 335,000 from an initially reported 340,000.

Both gauges will help guide the Fed as it determines when to begin paring back its giant bond-buying program. The all-important October jobs report is due out on Friday. 

On the corporate front, Twitter makes its public debut on NYSE Euronext's (NYX) New York Stock Exchange. Market participants are hoping the highly-awaited IPO will get off to a better start than Facebook (FB), which faced a slew of issues when it started trading on Nasdaq OMX Group's (NDAQ) Nasdaq Stock Market. 

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 42 cents, or 0.44%, to $95.20 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.44% to $2.537 a gallon. In metals, gold gained $5.10, or 0.39%, to $1,323 a troy ounce.  

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