NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a firmer open Thursday as jobless claims came in lower than expected and central banks in Europe kept their benchmark interest rates at historic lows.
- Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 6.25 points, or 4.01 points above fair value, to 1,750.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were higher by 58 points, or 49.77 points above fair value, to 15,425. Nasdaq futures were up 16.5 points, or 13.6 points above fair value, to 3,462.
- Initial jobless claims for the week ended Feb. 1 fell to 331,000, which was lower than estimates of 335,000. The December U.S. international trade deficit, meanwhile, widened to $38.7 billion vs. estimates of $36 billion.
Friday's January nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show an increase to 185,000 jobs added after December's scant 74,000. "The ADP employment report (Wednesday) ... failed to meet expectations in January and January's manufacturing activity as reflected in Monday's ISM manufacturing index was weak," Say Hwa, head of investment at Singapore-based Phillip Futures, said in a note. "There exists now a higher possibility that nonfarm payrolls will fail to meet expectations this Friday."
Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo is scheduled to testify on Dodd-Frank before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington at 10 a.m. EST
The European Central Bank on Thursday kept its benchmark interest rate at a historical low of 0.25%.
- The Bank of England kept interest rates at a record low of 0.5%.
- The FTSE in London was climbing 0.6% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.52%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished up 0.72% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down 0.18%.
- Yelp (YELP - Get Report) was surging more than 7.5% to $81.05 in premarket trading after its fourth-quarter report showed better-than-expected sales and upbeat usership growth.
- General Motors (GM - Get Report) was off 3.77% to $33.91 after posting fourth-quarter earnings per share of 67 cents, which came in far weaker than the Wall Street target of 88 cents amid disappointing sales. Dunkin Brands (DNKN - Get Report) was up 2.01% to $48.25 after quarterly EPS topped expectations by 3 cents at 43 cents.