Futures Tick Up Amid Upbeat Data


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Two better-than-expected reports on the U.S. labor market, coupled with a round of strong manufacturing data from China, lifted stock-index futures on Thursday.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:35 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 14 points to 13043, S&P 500 futures climbed 0.75 point to 1408 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 8.3 points to 2649.

The markets capped October on a weak note, with the Dow sliding some 2.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fared worse, tumbling 4.5%.

November was off to a tepid start, with markets in Asia and Europe rising modestly. China's official PMI gauge showed manufacturing activity expanding slightly in October after contracting slightly the month before. A separate PMI reading from HSBC showed the manufacturing sector in the world's No. 2 economy contracting at the slowest pace in eight months.

Hongbin Qu, the bank's chief economist for China, said in the report that the data show "industrial activity continues to bottom out following a modest pickup last month."

On the U.S. front, traders will get a look at the job, manufacturing and construction market.

The ADP National Employment Report showed the U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in October, more than the 135,000 expected. The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 363,000 last week from an upwardly revised 372,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to rise to 370,000 from an initially reported 369,000.

Planned job cuts by U.S. firms soared 41% to 47,724 to a five-month high in October from September, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The all-important monthly jobs report from the Labor Department is on tap for Friday.

The Institute for Supply Management's PMI gauge is on tap for 10:00 a.m. ET. The U.S. manufacturing sector is expected to have expanded at a very slightly slower pace in October than it did the month before.

On the corporate front, earnings season marched on Thursday. Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) adjusted third-quarter profit of 53 cents a share came in line with Wall Street’s expectations. However, the drug maker’s sales of $14 billion missed forecasts of $14.64 billion. Pfizer’s board also announced a new $10 billion share repurchase program.

ExxonMobil's (NYSE:XOM) quarterly results are due ahead of the opening bell as well. After the close of trading, results are expected from American International Group (NYSE:AIG), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD).

Oil futures were modestly higher. The benchmark contract traded in New York rose 12 cents, or 0.09%, to $86.32 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.21% to $2.636 a gallon.

In metals, gold advanced $7.10, or 0.41%, to $1,726 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.48% to 2516, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.54% to 5814 and the German DAX climbed 0.5% to 7297.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up 0.21% to 8947 and the Chinese Hang Seng drifted higher by 0.83% to 21822.