Stock Futures Climb, But Traders Remain Cautious


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U.S. stock-index futures pushed higher on Wednesday as traders parsed through data out of Europe and awaited bigger events later this week.

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Today's Markets

As of 7:57 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 66 points, or 0.42%, to 15616, S&P 500 futures gained 8.8 points to 1765 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 8.8 points, or 0.5%, to 3394.

Wall Street snapped a two-day run on Tuesday after strong data on the services sector boosted concerns over how soon the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its massive bond-purchasing program. However, sentiment turned more positive, if not still wary, on Wednesday as traders awaited the European Central Bank's policy decision Thursday and the all-important October jobs report Friday.

"We expect the markets to remain cautious" ahead of the events, analysts at Nomura warned clients.

On the economic front, German factory orders revved up by 3.3% in September from the month prior, widely beating expectations of a gain of 0.5%. The data come as the latest sign Europe's economic powerhouse is recovering from the debt crisis that struck the eurozone.

Markit's gauge of business activity in the 17-member currency bloc fell to 51.9 in October from 52.2 in September. The reading suggests conditions are still improving, but at a slower rate.

U.S. employers revealed plans to slash 45,730 jobs in October, up 13.5% from September, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 66 cents, or 0.71%, to $94.03 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 1.4% to $2.552 a gallon. Gold advanced by $9.80, or 0.75%, to $1,318 a troy ounce.

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