Stock Futures Hold Gains After ADP Data

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street Wednesday even after a worse-than-expected jobs number in the U.S. as China's new leadership spoke of supportive measures for the Chinese economy.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 47 points, or 46.22 points above fair value, at 12,980. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2.90 points, or 3.25 points above fair value, at 1408. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2.25 points, or 2.06 points above fair value, at 2666.

In advance of China's central economic planning talks this month, the new Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said that more infrastructure investment, tax reform and giving the market a greater role in setting prices were among the top issues to address.

Major U.S. stock averages slumped Tuesday as eurozone troubles continued to fester amid a finance ministers meeting and signs of gridlock in the U.S. "fiscal cliff" talks.

"The rest of the year will be characterized as a gamble between those investors who believe there will be a (fiscal cliff) solution and those who believe there won't be a solution," said Jeffrey Sica, manager of SICA Wealth Management. "The overwhelming majority of investors will opt to 'sit out' the speculation, and wait for some clear direction. The market will temporarily be under the influence of short-term traders, cuing off small indications of a direction by analyzing every word spoken, and taking positions either as buyers or sellers. Until a compromise is reached, determining short-term market direction will be near impossible."

Before the market open, Automatic Data Processing's employment change report showed an addition of 118,000 jobs in the U.S. in November, down from a downwardly revised 157,000 in October as Hurricane Sandy "wreaked havoc" on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls, the report said.

Economists were expecting the addition of 125,000 jobs.

The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm, according to the report.

"Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics in a press release. "This is especially impressive given the uncertainty created by the Presidential election and the fast-approaching fiscal cliff. Businesses appear to be holding firm on their hiring and firing decisions."

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nonfarm labor productivity in the third quarter rose 2.9% after the previously reported increase of 1.9%. Economists predicted a 2.7% rise.

At 10 a.m., the Census Bureau is expected to say that factory orders were flat in October after rising by 4.8% in September.

Also at 10 a.m., the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index is predicted to show a decline to 53.5 in November from 54.2 in October.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.14% Wednesday, while the DAX in Germany was up 0.19%. Japan's Nikkei average finished up 0.39% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up by 2.15%.

Gold for February delivery was rising $7.80 at $1,703.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts were up 8 cents at $88.58 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1/32, diluting the yield to 1.605%. The dollar was up 0.13%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Netflix ( NFLX) and Walt Disney ( DIS) agreed on Tuesday to a movie-licensing deal.

Netflix shares were down 0.52% and Disney shares were up 0.39% in premarket trading.

Pandora Media ( P) said third-quarter earnings more than tripled to $2 million as revenue rose 60% to $120 million but the Internet radio company on Tuesday issued a downbeat forecast for the fourth quarter.

Shares were plunging more than 15%.

Mattress Firm ( MFRM) reduced its adjusted earnings outlook for the year as traffic at the specialty bedding retailer decelerates.

Shares were dropping 21%.

Chipmaker Altera ( ATLR) said Tuesday it expects fourth-quarter sales to fall 8% to 10% from third-quarter sales of $495 million; it previously forecast sales to drop 6% to 8%.

The company cited weak demand for its older products.

Shares were declining 2%.

Facebook ( FB) shares were rising more than 1.5% as the social networker got ready to join the Nasdaq 100 later this month, replacing Infosys ( INFY) in the index.

The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an inquiry into a $10 million sale of stock by Big Lots ( BIG) CEO Steven Fishman before the company announced news that sank the stock, a person familiar with the inquiry told The Wall Street Journal.

Big Lots said that Fishman announced his retirement on Tuesday. The retailer said it hadn't been contacted by the SEC and that Fishman's retirement was coincidental to any regulatory interest, the newspaper reported.

Shares were sliding 0.83%.

Nokia ( NOK) ADRs were popping more than 3% after the Finnish mobile phone company announced with China Mobile the Lumia 920T, the first TD-SCDMA Windows phone in China.

Nokia also announced the introduction of the Nokia Lumia 620, the third and most affordable in its range of Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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