Stock Futures Pare Gains as ECB Bond-Buying Plan Unfolds


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were paring gains Thursday as investors keyed in on the details of the European Central Bank's bond-buying plan, which was being revealed at a press conference by ECB President Mario Draghi.

Reports showing that the health of the labor market in the U.S. was stronger than expected was helping stocks hold gains.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 65 points, or 79.52 points above fair value, at 13,115. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 7.1 points, or 8.36 points above fair value, at 1411. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 12 points, 13.3 points above fair value, at 2779.

Draghi said that the bond purchases will all be sterilized and unlimited in size and that the central bank will publish its holdings by country every month.

The program will extend to bonds with maturities of up to three years and there will be no cap for yields.

He also asserted that if governments do not comply with the stringent bailout terms, the ECB will stop buying its bonds.

The euro was weakening as details of the bond-buying plan were revealed.

The ECB announced earlier Thursday that it would leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.75%.

U.S. stocks finished mixed Wednesday as traders mostly stood pat ahead of the ECB policy meeting.

The ADP report Thursday showed that employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector rose to 201,000 in August, up from an upwardly revised 173,000 in July. Economists forecast that private-sector employment fell to 143,000 last month.

The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 1 fell by 12,000 to 365,000, and that the four-week moving average rose 250 to 371,250.

Continuing claims for the week ended Aug. 25 fell to 3.322 million from 3.328 million the prior week.

Economists predicted that initial jobless claims would fall to 373,000 and that continuing claims would dip to 3.3 million.

The Institute for Supply Management is predicted to say later Thursday that its ISM Non-Manufacturing Index fell in August to 52.4 from 52.6.

The FTSE in London was drifting higher by 0.57%, while the DAX in Germany was up 1.31%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index finished up by 0.34% and the Nikkei in Japan closed up 0.01%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 14/32, raising the yield to 1.642%. The greenback was down 0.14%, according to the dollar index.

October crude oil futures were up $1.15 at $96.51 a barrel and December gold futures were higher by 16 cents at $1,710 an ounce.

On the corporate front, Amazon ( AMZN) has a major event planned in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday. The company hasn't disclosed what it will say but it's expected to unveil a new Kindle Fire. It's also likely to announce the newest versions of its line of Kindle e-readers, according to reports.

Supervalu ( SVU) plans to close about 60 stores. The grocer said Wednesday it would close most of the "underperforming or non-strategic stores" before Dec. 1.

The company suspended its dividend in June and said it was reviewing its options with financial advisers, including a possible sale of the company.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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