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Stock futures held on to early gains despite a round of mixed economic data as traders continued to pay close attention to developments from Spain.
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As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 54 points to 13399, S&P 500 futures gained 5.8 points to 1433 and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 8 points to 2782.
Wall Street got a reprieve from focusing on Europe's debt crisis after the European Central Bank unveiled measures earlier this month aimed at easing eurozone borrowing costs. However, tension has began to rise once again, roiling the markets.
The broad S&P 500 fell for the fifth day in a row on Wednesday in its longest losing streak since July. The broad-market index has shed 1.9% in so many days, hitting its lowest level since September 10.
Spain is expected to unveil its 2013 budget plan at roughly 8:00 a.m. ET. Analysts expect the plan to dramatically shrink the country's deficit -- potentially opening the door to bond buying from the ECB. However, the release comes amid a gloomy backdrop. Individuals have been protesting in Madrid against the deep austerity measures that will be necessary to shrink the deficit.
"Much focus today is on the Spanish budget and overall the market looks unconvinced for their prospects," Will Hedden, a sales trader at IG in London wrote in an email. Hedden pointed to Spanish 10-year bond yields that pushed above 6% on the secondary market for the first time since the ECB unveiled its bond-buying plan in a sign of the uneasiness.
Stress tests on Spain's banks are due on Friday. Also on the European front, the U.K.'s second-quarter economic contraction was revised lower to 0.4% from 0.5%.
Helping to boost sentiment was news that the People's Bank of China injected 180 billion yuan ($28 billion) into China's banking system, bringing the total liquidity injection for the week to a net record, according to analysts at Nomura. The country has been taking increasingly aggressive measures to keep its economy, the world's second biggest, from cooling down too quickly.
Traders were also analyzing a slew of U.S. economic data.
A final reading from the Commerce Department on U.S. gross domestic product showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.3% in the second quarter, down from 1.7% in a previous reading. Economists expected the gauge to hold steady.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed orders for long-lasting goods fell 13.2% in August from July, a steeper drop than the 5% expected. It was the steepest drop since January 2009. Excluding the transportation sector, claims were down 1.6%, missing estimates of a 0.3% gain. The durable goods report figures into broader measures of third-quarter economic growth, and often has an impact on Wall Street.
The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 359,000 last week from an upwardly revised 385,000 the week prior. Claims were expected to fall to 378,000 from an initially reported 382,000.
Later, the markets will get data on pending home sales. Analyst expect signed contracts for previously-owned homes to have held steady in August after jumping 2.4% the month before.
In commodities, oil prices rallied on a report from Dow Jones Newswires saying there was an oil pipeline explosion in Syria. The benchmark contracted traded in New York climbed 93 cents, or 1%, to $90.91 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 1.6% to $2.129 a gallon.
In metals, gold edged up $4.70, or 0.27%, to $1,758 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.61% to 2514, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.27% to 5784 and the German DAX climbed 0.47% to 7310.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 tacked on 0.48% to 8950 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1.1% to 20762.