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Jobless Claims Drop Lifts Futures as Green Mountain Jumps

Stocks in this article: ^GSPC ^IXIC ^DJI GMCR

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a rebound on Wall Street Thursday following a decline in weekly initial jobless claims while investors await a vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next Federal Reserve chief.

Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 4.25 points, or 5.23 points above fair value, to 1,784. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 47 points, or 57.18 points above fair value, to 15,925. Futures for Nasdaq were up 11.3 points, or 11.48 points above fair value, to 3,377.8.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters GMCR was popping more than 6.5% to $66.04 after posting fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.

Retailers were lackluster in early morning trades even as their lowered forecasts didn't reflect the overall consumer spending environment.

Target TGT shares were slumping 3.9% to $63.90 after the discount retailer cut its full year forecast to earnings per share of $4.59 to $4.69 from the prior outlook of $4.70 to $4.90 after margins and earnings softened at its U.S. business during the third quarter and its Canadian unit suffered losses.

Abercrombie & Fitch ANF was shedding 3.4% to $33.80 after the casual apparel retailer guided for a low double digit decrease in comparable sales for the fourth quarter.

In the prior session, data showed that U.S. consumers appeared unaffected by the partial government shutdown during October, boosting U.S. retail sales by the most in four months.

"We're still betting on the consumer," Neil Hennessy, founder and chairman of Novato-Calif-based Hennessy Funds said during an annual company luncheon Wednesday. "The consumer is not dead. We're expecting low to moderate growth."

Initial jobless claims for the week of Nov. 16 declined by 21,000 to 323,000, which was better than the 335,000 economists were expecting. The four-week average indicative of longer-term jobless patterns also fell, edging down by 6,750.

In the meantime, the producer price index for October fell 0.2%, as expected, cooling further from the prior month's 0.1% downtick. The core PPI excluding food and energy rose 0.2%.

The Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey for November will be published at 10 a.m. Economists are estimating a drop to 15 from 19.8 in October.

Fed-speak Thursday includes at St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard, Fed Governor Jerome Powell, and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker.

The Senate Banking Committee is planning to vote on President Obama's nomination of Yellen, who has been a key figure behind the current record accommodative measures in the U.S. The vote is expected to go to the full Senate for final confirmation after approval by the Banking Committee.

Markets dropped on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's policymaking minutes suggested the central bank will scale back its economic stimulus in the coming months.

Overseas markets were mixed after an indication of a weakening in Chinese manufacturing activity in November and mixed business activity numbers out of Europe.

The DAX in Germany was down 0.32% and the FTSE in London was up 0.07%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed behind by 0.51% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.92%.

The 10-year Treasury was off 1/32, raising the yield to 2.807%.

The U.S. dollar index was up 0.02% to $81.13.

Oil for January delivery was down 4 cents to $93.81 a barrel.

December gold futures were dropping $11.10 to $1,246.90 an ounce.

-- Written by Andrea Tse

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