NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a stronger open on strong June private sector job growth and a bigger-than-expected decline in initial weekly jobless claims. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 68 points, or 70 points above fair value, at 12,637. Futures for the S&P 500 were higher by 10 points, or 11 points above fair value, at 1346, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 16 points, or 16 points above fair value. Stocks strengthened Wednesday as investors overlooked an interest rate hike in China and a downgrade to Portugal's debt to focus on upcoming June jobs data. The Bank of England kept its key interest rate at 0.5% , as expected. In another expected move, the European Central Bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 1.5%. The FTSE in London was gaining 0.7%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 0.5%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.06% while Japan's Nikkei shed 0.1%. Automatic Data Processing said companies added 157,000 payrolls in June, surpassing expectations for job gains of 60,000, according to Briefing.com. June's level compares to an increase of 36,000 in May. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 418,000 in the week ended July 2, which was a bigger decline than market estimates for claims to fall by 4,000 to 425,000 from last week's initially reported level of 428,000.
The end of the week brings the government's June jobs report. Economists expect to see that the economy added 80,000 jobs in June after adding 54,000 in May. The unemployment rate is projected to remain unchanged at 9.1%, according to Briefing.com. Shares of Visa ( V) were falling 3.2% to $85.41 ahead of Thursday's opening bell after the global payments company said it's expecting slower revenue growth because of a U.S. regulatory crackdown on debit card processing fees.