Futures Slightly Higher After Jobs Data

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks were set to open slightly higher after talk of plans to shield eurozone banks from the region's debt crisis and mixed U.S. jobs data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 15 points, or 37 points below fair value, at 10,734. Futures for the S&P 500 were up by 2points, or 2 points below fair value, at 1116 and Nasdaq futures were up by 2 points, or 10 points below fair value, at 2115.

Wednesday brought two preludes to the government's monthly jobs report on Friday. Automatic Data Processing said that the private sector added 91,000 jobs from August to September after a downwardly revised 89,000 additional jobs from July to August. The consensus view for September was for an addition of just 75,000 jobs.

While the ADP numbers suggest the job market is improving, an estimate of planned job cuts in September offered reasons to be cautious. Consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said companies announced 115,730 layoffs in September after planning 51,114 job cuts in August. The number of announced layoffs jumped to the highest level since April 2009, when 132,590 cuts were announced. The government will release its employment report for September on Friday.

After the close on Tuesday, ratings agency Moody's cut Italy's debt rating three notches to A2, saying the country faces challenges in reducing its debt amid sluggish economic growth even though the risk of an Italian default remains "remote."

Before the downgrade, stocks staged a wild comeback in the last hour of Tuesday's session, triggered in part by a report from the Financial Times that the eurozone was exploring a concerted bank recapitalization to reduce uncertainty in the European debt crisis. The market escaped a bear market with the S&P 500 finishing 18% below its April 29 high.

"The bears were looking for a catalyst as a reason to cover, and I think they got it yesterday," wrote Marc Pado of Cantor Fitzgerald in a research note. "We need to see some real follow-through action to make yesterday's internal action real."

On Wednesday, London's FTSE was up 2% while Germany's DAX was up 2.6%. Asian markets closed lower with Japan's Nikkei Average off 0.86%.

The breakup of Belgian-French bank Dexia has become the first government bailout due to the sovereign debt crisis. Dexia will create a "bad bank," effectively pooling together its its troubled assets, while selling its healthy operations. The lender, which was also rescued by France and Belgium in 2008, said Tuesday it would take "all necessary measures" to guarantee its loans.

Dexia's troubles are the latest sign that the debt crisis has spread to the core of the eurozone financial system. Shares of the lender were rebounding by 4.8% after tanking 22% on Tuesday.

At 10 a.m., economists expect the Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index to dip to 53 in September, from an August reading of 53.3.

Acme Packet ( APKT), a Bedford, Mass.-based provider of network services, gave a disappointing third-quarter forecast, citing a delay in securing a deal with a large customer in North America. The company said it now sees non-GAAP earnings of 20 cents to 22 cents a share in the third quarter on revenue of around $70 million, well below the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 30 cents a share on revenue of $82.8 million. Shares were plunging 14.1% to $36.81 in premarket trading Wednesday.

Yum! Brands ( YUM) reiterated its full-year earnings-per-share forecast for growth of at least 12% after meeting quarterly profit expectations as continued strong performance in China drove year-over-year revenue growth of more than 14%. The parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut said it earned $383 million, or 80 cents a share, in its third quarter, up 7.3% from a year-earlier profit of $357 million, or 74 cents. Shares were up 0.1% to $49.49.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the city of New York are suing Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) for nearly $2 billion, for allegedly defrauding clients in foreign currency exchange transactions.

Costco ( COST), the warehouse retailer, said net income in the fourth quarter rose about 10.6% as sales jumped 17%. Net income in the fourth quarter was $478 million, or $1.08 a share, compared with $432 million, or 97 cents, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Costco to earn $1.10 a share.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was losing 9/32, pushing the yield to 1.855%. The euro was gaining against the greenback, while the dollar was weaker against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index off 0.2%.

Gold for December delivery was slipping by $3.80 to trade at $1612.20 an ounce.

The November crude oil contract was inching up $2.09 to trade at $77.76 a barrel.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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