Stock Futures Edge Slightly Higher After ADP


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were trading a bit higher Wednesday following a better-than-expected employment report and ahead of data on the services sector.

At last check, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 17 points, or 26.64 points above fair value, at 13,428. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2.3 points, or 3.75 points above fair value, at 1443. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 7.75 points, or 10.01 points above fair value, at 2803.

The ADP private sector employment change report showed a rise in private payrolls in September of 162,000, down from a downwardly revised 189,000 increase in August. Economists, on average, were forecasting a private payrolls increase in September of 133,000.

The data comes ahead of Friday's September U.S. nonfarm payrolls report.

"Given last month's miss of ADP vs. NFP, it's not surprising the market has been slow to react," commented Ian Lyngen, senior rates strategist at CRT.

The Institute for Supply Management is expected by economists at 10 a.m. to show that the U.S. services sector remained in expansion at 53 in September, though at a slightly slower pace compared with 53.7 in August.

"We expect it will show a third consecutive rise, echoing the bounce in September already reported for the manufacturing ISM index and numerous consumer confidence measures," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

U.S. stocks booked a mixed finish on Tuesday as investors awaited clarity on the timeline for a potential request for bailout funds from Spain and after Apple ( AAPL) shares improved in the final hour of trading.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.08% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.24% on Wednesday. The Nikkei Average in Japan closed down 0.45% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished up 0.23%.

November crude oil futures were slipping 48 cents to $91.41 a barrel. December gold futures were rising $5.20 at $1,780.80 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 3/32, lowering the yield to 1.615%. The greenback was down 0.22%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, Best Buy ( BBY) founder Richard Schulze and at least four private-equity firms have started examining the books of the company, the world's biggest consumer electronics chain, in what could become a potential $11 billion buyout, according to people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported.

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) CEO Meg Whitman holds her first analyst meeting Wednesday since taking over as CEO in September 2011.

Shares of HP are off about 34% so far in 2012, amid investor questions about strategy, including the tech giant's still-profitable printing division.

MetroPCS Communications ( PCS) confirmed Tuesday it's in talks with T-Mobile USA about a potential merger.

Discount retailer Family Dollar Stores ( FDO) posted fourth-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $2.36 billion, in line with analysts' estimates, and provided an encouraging fiscal 2013 outlook.

Monsanto ( MON) reported an as-expected fourth-quarter loss amid weaker corn-seed sales and provided disappointing fiscal 2013 earnings guidance.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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