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Futures Point to Positive Open for U.S. Stocks

The S&P and Nasdaq appear poised to track higher out of the gate.

Wall Street was heading for a higher start Thursday as traders looked to bulk up their positions following a particularly bearish session in the prior day.

S&P 500

futures were up 2 points to 1395 and were nearly 4 points ahead of fair value. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 were up a point at 1966, and were roughly 6 points above fair value.

Last time out

, the major averages plummeted after the

Federal Reserve

said it had negatively revised several of its economic forecasts, and crude oil smashed through yet another record.

All told, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

slid 227 points to 12,601, and the S&P 500 lost 23 points to 1391. The

Nasdaq Composite

gave up 44 points to 2448.

The new session saw traders looking past a number of fresh negative indicators early on. Crude easily got past another round number, $135 a barrel, before retreating to a 35-cent gain at $133.52.

Still, gold futures were down $6.70 to $921.90 an ounce, and the U.S. dollar took back some of its losses over the past couple of days. The greenback added 0.2% against the euro and strengthened by 0.3% against the yen.

Among companies, Swiss bank


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priced a $15.5 billion rights issue 31% below its last closing price on the Zurich exchange, but shares were still picking up 1.3% in early U.S. trading.

Meanwhile, wholesale power-generation outfit

NRG Energy

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proposed an unsolicited takeout bid of $11 billion for rival



, which earlier this year dug itself out of bankruptcy. Shares of NRG were off slightly at $42.49 in early trading.


Limited Brands


, which operates the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works retail chains, nearly doubled its fiscal first-quarter profit with help from the sale of a joint venture. Also, adjusted earnings came in ahead of the average Wall Street estimate. Shares gained ground in last night's extended session.

Pet-supplies retailer



also beat consensus estimates for the first fiscal quarter, but it guided under expectations for the current one. Shares were falling in the prior late session.

Other retail chains expected to report quarterly results today include


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, which will report before the open, and


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, which reports after the closing bell.

On the economic docket, the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report, is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Treasury prices were falling. Both the 10-year note and the 30-year bond were off 11/32 in price to yield 3.85% and 4.56%, respectively.

Markets abroad were mainly in retreat. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4% overnight, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank 1.6%. In Europe, the FTSE 100 was up a fraction at 6200 as Germany's Xetra Dax and the Paris Cac lost about 0.5% apiece.