Stock Futures Rise After Jobs Data
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were ticking higher Thursday as the market cheered some better-than-expected U.S. economic data.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 54 points, or 56.9 points above fair value, at 12,849. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 10.6 points, or 10.3 points above fair value, at 1362, and futures for the Nasdaq were up 13.5 points, or 14.9 points above fair value, at 2633.
Stocks were driven lower Wednesday by persistent worries about the stability of Spain's banking system and Greece's future in the eurozone.
Tension in Greece continued to worry the markets Thursday, with eurozone debt contagion fears once again sending the bond yields of peripheral countries soaring. Spanish 10-year bond yields were rising more than 6% while Italy's were up more than 5.5%.After Sunday's fragmented general elections, Greece is still without a government, fanning anxiety that this could damage the country's bailout agreement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund and lead to an exit of the nation from the euro. In Europe, London's FTSE was ticking down 0.5% and the DAX in Germany was flat. In Spain, the government effectively nationalized the country's fourth-largest bank, Bankia, as the banking system there remains awash in toxic assets from the fallout of a building and property market crash in 2008. Spain government officials say it will do more on Friday to bolster the troubled banks. The market is now turning some of its attention towards a handful of U.S. releases. Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 5 fell by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 368,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected jobless claims of 369,000. The four-week moving average was 379,000, down 5,250 from the previous week's average of 384,250. Continuing claims for the week ended April 28 were 3.229 million, down 61,000 from the preceding week's level of 3.29 million. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that the March trade gap increased to a greater-than-expected $51.8 billion, up from $45.4 billion in February. Economists expected the trade gap to grow to $50 billion. U.S. import prices declined 0.5% in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said, following a 1.5% increase in March. U.S. export prices increased 0.4% in April after rising 0.8% in March. In Asia, the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong finished down 0.5% on weak trade data out of China. Japan's Nikkei average fell 0.4%. China's headline import number unexpectedly stalled in April and exports were soft, stoking worries that demand in the second largest economy was slowing. Annual growth in imports April was only 0.3%, significantly below the 11% growth expected by economists and softer than the 5.3% increase in March. However, the slowdown in headline imports was magnified by a sharp fall in commodities prices in the past year. Exports were also weaker than expected, up 4.9% in April from a year ago, below the average projection of 8.5% and March's increase of 8.9%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 2 21/32, raising the yield to 1.872%. The dollar was flat, according to the dollar index. In commodity markets, the June crude oil contract was off 37 cents at $96.4 a barrel. June gold futures were falling $3 to $1,591.20 an ounce.
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