Stock Futures Stay Positive Despite Disappointing Economic Reports

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures pointed to a higher open Thursday after worse-than-expected labor market and U.S. growth reports allayed investor concern the Federal Reserve may soon pull back on its stimulus program.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 4.5 points, or 5.24 points above fair value, to 1,651.5. Major U.S. stock markets slipped Wednesday on prospects that the Federal Reserve would curtail its bond-buying which has helped fuel the S&P's best start since 1991.

Facebook ( FB) was gaining 3.22% to $24.07 in premarket trading after the social media giant was boosted to "outperform" from "market perform" by BMO Capital analyst Dan Salmon, who wrote that investor sentiment has grown overly negative on long-term usage concerns of younger users. Jefferies has also upgraded Facebook, raising the stock to "buy" from "hold".

EMC ( EMC) was popping 5.62% to $24.99 after the cloud computing company hiked its share buyback program to $6 billion over the next three years and announced a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share. Topeka Capital Markets analysts said in a note that EMC's joining of the "cash dividend club" is a positive for the stock.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 30 points, or 36.20 points above fair value, to 15,320. Futures for the Nasdaq up 5.75 points, or 7.73 points above fair value, to 3,001.25.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that its second estimate on U.S. first-quarter GDP showed a rise by an annual rate of 2.4%, up from a 0.4% increase in the fourth quarter, but below the prior estimate of 2.5%. Economists, on average, were expecting the estimate to remain at 2.5%.

Meanwhile the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims for the week ended May 25 rose 10,000 to a worse-than-expected 354,000. Economists were expecting jobless claims of 340,000. The four-week moving average was 347,250, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week's average of 340,500.

Continuing claims increased 63,000 to a higher-than-expected 2.986 million in the week ended May 18. Economists were expecting continuing claims of 2.95 million.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors is expected to say that pending home sales rose 1.1% in April after increasing 1.5% in March.

NV Energy ( NVE) shares were surging 23.03% to $23.72. Berkshire Hathaway's ( BRK.A) energy subsidiary MidAmerican Energy is buying the Las Vegas utility for $23.75 a share in cash for an enterprise value of about $10 billion.

MidAmerican Energy will pay a 23% premium for NV Energy over Wednesday's closing price of $19.28.

Big Lots ( BIG) was tumbling 8% to $35.31 after the discount retailer produced full year and current quarter outlook that were below expectations, with second quarter same-store sales declining 2% to 4% from the prior year. First-quarter earnings were in line with estimates at 61 cents a share.

July crude oil futures were down 57 cents at $92.56 a barrel. August gold futures were surging $14.10 to $1,405.90 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was unchanged, with the yield at 2.116%. The dollar was down 0.36% to $83.36 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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