Stock Futures Gain on U.S. Job Gains

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open Wednesday following Tuesday's plunge as the markets cheered better-than-expected American payrolls data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 53 points, or 49.9 points above fair value, at 12,797. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6.4 points, or 5.9 points above fair value, at 1348, and futures for the Nasdaq were spiking 13 points, or 13.7 points above fair value, at 2603.

The first of a spate of U.S. job reports turned out better-than-expected Wednesday, with Automatic Data Processing reporting that private-sector jobs rose 216,000 in February, beating the expectation by analysts of an addition of 200,000 jobs during the month, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. January's number meanwhile was upwardly revised to an addition of 173,000 jobs. The report is a precursor to the highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

U.S. stocks saw their biggest one-day drop in nearly three months Tuesday as the markets digested more evidence that Europe is sliding deeper into the doldrums and dragging down the pace of global growth.

In Europe, worries that a debt swap deal in Greece would not be completed by Thursday's deadline were easing, with Greece's six largest banks agreeing to take part in the country's debt swap, according to the Finance Ministry. The banks are among the biggest private holders of Greece's sovereign debt, according to Bloomberg, and are integral to the completion of the debt swap deal. Their participation should encourage smaller bondholders to take writedowns on their holdings as well. Participants of the deal will see a loss of 53.5% of the value of their Greek bond holdings.

London's FTSE was rising 0.3%, and Germany's DAX was adding 0.25%. In Asia, benchmark indices fell after Australia's fourth-quarter gross domestic product was reported to have grown at a disappointing 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei Average closed behind by 0.64%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished lower by 0.86%.

In corporate news, shares of Apple ( AAPL) were giving the market a lift as the tech heavyweight rose about 0.6% ahead of the expected unveiling of its new iPad at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. It won't be called the iPad 3, but rather the iPad HD, as Apple highlights the device's high-definition screen, according to reports.

Pandora ( P), the streaming music company, reported a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss. It was the company's first quarterly loss since it went public in June 2011. Pandora reported a non-GAAP loss of $4.7 million, or 3 cents a share, on revenue of $81.3 million. Analysts were expecting a loss of 2 cents a share on revenue of $83.1 million in the three months ended Jan. 31.

Pandora's outlook for the fiscal year -- a non-GAAP loss of 11 to 16 cents a share -- was wider than analysts' views.

General Electric ( GE) reiterated its 2012 guidance, saying that it continues to expect double digit growth. The company is forecasting 20% to 25% growth in regions including Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa. Growth in Asia, including China and India, is expected at 10% to 15%. The company also plans to collaborate with the second biggest U.S. natural gas producer, Chesapeake Energy, to develop products and services for cars and trucks with domestically-produced natural gas. Shares were 0.4% higher to $18.49.

Children's Place Retail Stores ( PLCE) saw its fiscal fourth quarter earnings fall 25%. The retailer reported profit of $24.2 million, or 98 cents a share, and adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 87 cents a share, as sales were lower than expected because of higher product costs, warmer weather and the rollout of new stores. For the current quarter, Children's Place forecast earnings of $1.03 to $1.08 a share, missing the estimate for $1.14 a share.

April oil futures were up 61 cents to $105.31 a barrel, while April gold futures were rising $9.40 to $1,681.50 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down by 8/32, raising the yield to 1.971%, while the U.S. dollar index was dipping 0.2% at $79.69.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.
Copyright 2011 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.