Stock Futures Climb on Global Manufacturing Reports

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Stock-index futures jumped on Wednesday as a slew of better-than-expected global manufacturing data overshadowed a disappointing U.S. private-sector payroll report.

Today's Markets

As of 8:20 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 83 points to 12660, S&P 500 futures rallied 8 points to 1316 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 12.8 points to 2477.

Economic data have come sharply into focus on the first trading day of the month, following Wall Street's best January performance in 15 years.

China, the world's second biggest economy, said its manufacturing sector expanded slightly in January, notching a quicker pace than in December, and topping forecasts for a very slight contraction. The report helped ease concerns that the country is in for an abrupt slowdown that could send shockwaves through the global economy.

In Europe, Germany, the continent's economic powerhouse, and the U.K. both saw their manufacturing sectors pick up steam as well, according to data from Markit. The acceleration in Germany, however, failed to catalyze growth in the 17-member eurozone, which saw a contraction in manufacturing for the sixth-straight month, the data show.

"Overall, today's data confirmed the message in the flash reports that the manufacturing sector in the euro area [stabilized] in January," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

European blue chips rallied 1.7% and the euro gained 0.39% to $1.3135. Meanwhile, the greenback fell 0.3% against a basket of six world currencies tracked by the dollar index.

Market participants will also get a fresh check on the U.S. economy, the world's biggest, with several major reports slated for release on Wednesday morning.

The private sector added 170,000 jobs last month, according to a report from payroll-processing firm ADP. Economists had been expecting an increase of 185,000. The December figures were revised down to 292,000 private sector jobs added from an initially reported 325,000.

The data come ahead of the closely-watched monthly employment report from the Labor Department on Friday. The jobs market has slowly recovered from the recession, when the unemployment rate peaked at 10% in October 2009. The jobless rate fell to 8.5% in the final month of 2011.

The manufacturing sector is forecast to have picked up steam and continued its expansion in January, economists said ahead of the 10:00 a.m. report from the Institute for Supply Management. Meanwhile, construction spending likely climbed 0.6% in December from the month prior.

Automakers are also set to report their sales from January on the day. Chrysler posted a 44% jump in monthly sales, and also revealed it swung to a $183 million profit for 2011, compared with a $625 million loss the year prior. This was the first year the smallest of Detroit's "big three" automobile companies profited since going bankrupt and receiving a government bailout in 2009.

Commodities markets were broadly to the upside. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York climbed 63 cents, or 0.63%, to $99.11 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline gained 0.86% to $2.915 a gallon.

In metals, gold rose $11.60, or 0.67%, to $1,751.90 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips rallied 1.7%, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1.4% to 5,759 and the German DAX soared 1.9% to 6,582.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged 0.08% higher to 8,810 and the Chinese Hang Seng slipped 0.28% to 20,333.