Stock Futures Climb as Traders Digest Global Data

MarketsDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock market futures pushed higher on Wednesday, rebounding from a prior down session on a day that will offer up little data, leaving investors to focus on the week's big events--the European Central Bank meeting and U.S. jobs data.

On the corporate side, a bevy of earnings are due ahead of the bell from companies such as Humana Inc. and Time Warner Inc., while Tesla Motors Inc. could see pressure in premarket after disappointment over its results late Tuesday.

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Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 81 points, or 0.5%, to 15631, while those for the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10.2 points, or 0.6%, to 1766.70. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index added 14.75 points, or 0.4%, to 3394.50.

The data calendar features just leading economic indicators for September at 10 a.m. EST, while Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto will deliver a speech on housing and the economy to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency conference at 1:10 p.m. EST. Pianalto is stepping down from her post at the end of the year.

Until Friday's nonfarm-payrolls data is delivered, investors will be focused on the ECB meeting to come on Thursday. Economists and strategists generally expect that some sort of easing measures will be announced by the central bank, though most are not expecting an interest rate cut until December, if then.

Wouter Sturkenboom, investment strategist at Russell Investment, said the S&P 500 index has been levitating around the 1,750-to-1,760 level for the last two weeks, and he and plenty of others are worried. Weak economic data that points to a delay of a tapering of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program has continued to push markets higher.

"We haven't sold into this rally yet, but our fingers are on the trigger," said Mr. Sturkenboom, who says he is watching a number of indicators and signals. For example, if the S&P 500 hits 1,800 to 1,820 on the S&P 500, that will be a sell signal and a sign that markets have gotten expensive.

"The big story is the balance between data and QE expectations. Our view on that is really simple: QE tapering shouldn't be this important. We want to focus on fundamentals. If this rally continues for another 3% or 4% or 5%, we just don't have the valuations or technicals to maintain our current position," Mr. Sturkenboom said.

Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower on Tuesday, which halted a two-day winning streak for both the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 index.

On the corporate front, shares of Tesla (TSLA) were pointing south in premarket trading after tumbling 9% in after-hours trading on Tuesday, amid disappointment that the electric-car maker only delivered 5,500 Model S units in the third quarter.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) may also come under pressure after the retailer said same-store sales sank 14%.

Earnings ahead of the bell include Humana (HUM), which posted third-quarter earnings of $2.31 a share versus $2.62 a year ago. Analysts had been expecting EPS of $2.15 a share. while Time Warner Inc. (TWX) is seen posting third-quarter earnings of 89 cents a share.

Elsewhere, European stocks rallied in an upbeat market, recouping prior-day losses, with the euro-zone composite and services purchasing managers' indexes climbing from initial estimates reported for October. Asia markets were mixed, with a weaker yen supporting Tokyo stocks.

Gold and oil prices were higher, while the dollar fell.