Stock Futures Signal Further Climb After ADP

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were signaling Wednesday a continuation of the previous day's sharp gains as global markets joined the U.S. rally amid a better-than-expected ADP employment report, and ahead of factory orders data and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book release.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high on Tuesday, marking a new peak in a four-year rally that began in March 2009 at the depth of the financial crisis, helped in part by global central bank stimulus and S&P 500 companies largely exceeding earnings and revenue estimates.

"The only place you can find yield right now is the equity markets. So you have a lot of money coming in here chasing this," Keith Bliss, senior vice president of Cuttone, told TheStreet late Tuesday. While Bliss was predicting a further move higher, he also said to bear in mind that "what's interesting about this move is the move Tuesday is being led by traditionally defensive types of stocks. Dividend payers, utilities, stocks you would see when the market is starting to sell off .. so that's the thing that gives a little bit of pause for thought here."

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 54 points, or 50.23 points above fair value, at 14,287. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6.75 points, or 5.31 points above fair value, at 1543.75. Futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 6.5 points, or 6.2 points above fair value, at 2804.75.

Ahead of the nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, the ADP jobs report Wednesday morning showed a decline in private jobs to 198,000 in February, from an upwardly revised 215,000. Economists expected a fall in private-sector jobs to 170,000.

The Census Bureau at 10 a.m. is forecast to say that factory orders fell 2.2% in January after rising 1.8% in December.

Some Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak at meetings and conferences Wednesday. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser will speak in Lancaster, Pa. starting at 8:15 a.m.; at 9:30 a.m. Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is scheduled to speak in front of an audience in Maryland.

The Fed's March Beige Book of anecdotal views on the economy will be released at 2 p.m.

Gold for April delivery was falling 80 cents at $1,574.10, while April crude oil futures were down 16 cents to $90.66 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was slipping by 5/32, raising the yield to 1.918%. The dollar was up 0.11%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

The FTSE 100 in London higher by 0.15% and the DAX in Germany was gaining 0.88%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled up 0.96%, while the Nikkei Average in Japan jumped 2.13%.

In corporate news, Staples ( SPLS) shares were tumbling by more than 5% after the office products company announced lower-than-expected revenue and gave a disappointing outlook as European, American, and corporate customers reined in their spending.

The company provided full-year earnings guidance of $1.30 to $1.35 a share, with revenue increasing by the low single-digits. Analysts, on average, are forecasting earnings of $1.44 a share. Staples posted fourth-quarter sales $6.57 billion, compared with the consensus estimate of $6.72 billion.

Verizon ( VZ) is looking to acquire 100% of Verizon Wireless, its joint venture with Vodafone ( VOD), Bloomberg reported.

American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO) shares were plunging by more than 8.5% after the specialty retailer forecast first-quarter EPS guidance of 16 cents to 19 cents a share, compared with 22 cents a share last year, saying that macro-economic headwinds and unfavorable weather affected consumer spending in February.

Members of J.C. Penney's ( JCP) board will consider selling the company or replacing Ron Johnson as CEO if a deep drop in sales can't be reversed this year, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Smith & Wesson ( SWHC), the firearm maker, posted fourth-quarter profit Tuesday of $14.6 million, or 22 cents a share, more than tripling from year-earlier profit of $4.4 million, or 7 cents a share.

Revenue jumped 39% to $136 million as consumers bought guns while U.S. lawmakers debated whether to impose a ban on some weapons.

VeriFone ( PAY) swung to a profit in the first quarter but the maker of terminals for electronic payments said Tuesday it could make senior management changes to "execute our strategic plan going forward."

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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