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Stock Futures Rise on China Stimulus Hopes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures rose Thursday as investor sentiment got a lift from talks of economy-boosting plans by the Chinese government.

Investors were also awaiting an announcement of Spain's 2013 budget approval.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 65 points, or 77.49 points above fair value, at 13,410. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 7.30 points, or 7.33 points above fair value, at 1434. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 10.25 points, or 9.92 points above fair value, at 2785.

The major U.S. stock averages were dragged lower Wednesday by more uncertainty in the eurozone as both Greece and Spain dealt with anti-austerity protests ahead of the Spanish government's approval of the 2013 budget.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.18% and the DAX in Germany was higher by 0.28% Thursday as investors awaited an announcement on the budget from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and as Greek coalition partners agreed on most of the budget cuts needed to obtain additional aid.

In China, there have been rumors that the Chinese securities regulator was planning to reveal market-boosting plans, which helped push the Asian markets higher. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished up 1.14% and the Nikkei Average in Japan closed up 0.48%.

The market tone also strengthened on reports that the Chinese central bank has injected a net 365 billion yuan ($58 billion) into the financial system ahead of a week-long public holiday next week.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 9/32, boosting the yield to 1.644%. The greenback was down 0.10%, according to the dollar index.

November crude oil futures were up 35 cents to $90.33 a barrel. December gold futures were up $4.80 to $1,758.40.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims fell 26,000 in the week ended Sept. 22 to 359,000, from an upwardly revised figure of 385,000 the previous week. The four-week moving average was 374,000, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week's 378,500.

Economists were expecting initial jobless claims of 378,000.

Continuing claims during the week ended Sept. 15 were 3.271 million , a decrease of 4,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3.275 million.

The Census Bureau said Thursday that durable goods orders fell 13.2% in August after three consecutive monthly increases, and was the largest decrease since January 2009. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1.6%.

Economists predicted durable goods orders had fallen 5%; excluding the transportation element, the forecast had called for an increase of 0.3%.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that its third estimate on second-quarter gross domestic product came in at 1.3%, down from the prior estimate of 1.7%.

Expectations were for an increase of 1.7%.

August pending home sales data will be out at 10 a.m. EDT.

In corporate news, Research In Motion (RIMM), the BlackBerry maker, is expected by analysts Thursday to report a fiscal second-quarter loss of 47 cents a share on revenue of $2.49 billion.

RIM's report will be issued after Thursday's closing bell.

Shares were up more than 1% in premarket trading.

TheStreet will be live-blogging RIM's results beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT.

Sealy (ZZ) shares were popping more than 5% after Tempur-Pedic International ( TPX ) said it will buy its mattress maker competitor for roughly $242 million and assume around $750 million in debt.

Tempur-Pedic shares were surging more than 7%.

Nike (NKE) is expected by analysts to report a fiscal first-quarter profit of $1.12 a share on revenue of $6.42 billion. The sneaker maker earned $1.36 a share in the year-earlier quarter.

Shares were up 0.53%.

Discover Financial Services (DFS) reported third-quarter earnings of $1.21 a share, versus estimates of $1.04 a share.

Shares were rising nearly 3%.

Micron Technology (MU) is expected to a post a fiscal fourth-quarter loss wider than a year earlier.

Analysts expect the memory chipmaker to post a loss of 21 cents a share, wider than last year's loss of 13 cents.

Shares were rising more than 1%.

--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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