Stock Futures Up as Traders Digest News Deluge

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U.S. stock-index futures pushed higher in choppy action as traders parsed through the long-awaited bond buying plan from the ECB and better-than-expected U.S. economic data.

Today's Markets

As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 76 points to 13126, S&P 500 futures gained 8.5 points to 1412 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 15 points to 2782.

The European Central Bank finally described its plan to dip into embattled sovereign debt markets in a bid to quell the eurozone debt crisis. The plan, which ECB President Mario Draghi referred to at a press conference as outright monetary transactions, will involve purchasing short-term bonds between one and three-year maturity. The buying will be conditional on countries sticking to already agreed upon austerity measures.

Draghi also presented a more subdued economic outlook for the eurozone. The currency bloc's economy is now forecast to contract between 0.6% and 0.2% in 2012.

Also in central bank news, the Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.5% and the size of its asset purchase program at 375 billion pounds, as expected.

There are also a slew of economic reports due on the day.

The ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector added 201,000 jobs in August, topping estimates for an increase of 140,000. The count from July was also revised up by 10,000 to 173,000. New claims for unemployment benefits fell to 365,000 from an upwardly revised 377,000 the week prior, the Labor Department said. Claims were expected to fall to 370,000 from an initially reported 374,000.

U.S. companies announced plans to cut 32,239 jobs in August, the fewest since December 2010, and 12.5% lower than the July tally, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

All of these reports come ahead of the closely-watched monthly employment report from the Labor Department on Friday. The economy likely added 125,000 jobs in August, not enough to push the unemployment rate from 8.3%, economists said ahead of the report.

Later, the Institute for Supply Management publishes its gauge of service-sector activity.

In commodities, gold prices rallied $17.20, or 1%, to $1,711 -- the highest level since March. Oil prices, meanwhile, jumped $1.13, or 1.2%, to $96.49 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline climbed 0.92% to $2.976 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.2% to 2470, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.59% to 5691 and the German DAX jumped 1.3% to 7053.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 inched higher by 0.01% to 8681 and the Chiense Hang Seng ticked up 0.34% to 19209.