Stock Futures Rally as Glimmers of Progress Emerge on Fiscal Front


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U.S. stock-index futures zoomed higher as traders eyed signs of progress to break a stalemate over ending a partial government shutdown and raising the debt limit.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 206 points to 14831, S&P 500 futures rallied 14.3 points to 1663 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 28.3 points to 3161.

After a day spent focusing on the Federal Reserve, Wall Street is once again pointing the spotlight squarely at Capitol Hill and the White House.

Analysts grew cautiously optimistic that lawmakers in Washington, D.C. will be able to craft a deal to raise the debt limit ahead of the October 17 deadline the Treasury Department has set. President Barack Obama will meet with Democratic and Republican leaders on Thursday afternoon in the hopes of forging an agreement. It appears increasingly likely, according to several news reports, that the deal will involve a short-term increase in the debt limit to take the immediate specter of an American default off the table.

On the economic front, the number of Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits rose last week to 374,000, the highest level since March, from 308,000 the week prior. Economists expected claims to rise to 310,000.

The Labor Department said half of the jump was attributed to computer issues in California, and about 15,000 claims came from non-federal workers who were adversely affected by the government shutdown.With essentially all government reported halted for the moment due to the government shutdown, this report has taken on increased significance.

Elsewhere, in commodities, U.S. crude oil prices rose 4 cents, or 0.04%, to $101.68 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline advanced 0.88% to $2.646 a gallon. Gold fell $3.10, or 0.23%, to $1,304 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.6% to 2952, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1% to 6402 and the German DAX gained 1.4% to 8639.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 lurched higher by 1.1% to 14195 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.36% to 22951.

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