Stock Futures Rise as Soros Goes Long on Herbalife

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were signaling a higher open on Wall Street Thursday as global markets digested better-than-expected U.S. jobs and Chinese manufacturing data after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday provided no indication it's preparing to cut back on its stimulative bond-buying program.

Ahead of the open, Procter & Gamble ( PG), Yelp ( YELP) and Apple ( AAPL) shares were climbing as investors stayed focused on Herbalife ( HLF ).

Nutritional supplement stock Herbalife was rising more than 1% to $66.20 in premarket trading, extending the gains of the prior session after CNBC on Wednesday reported that billionaire investor George Soros had taken a large long position in the company, making it one of this top three positions.

Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 13 points, or 12.77 points above fair value, to 1,693.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were adding on 119 points, or 116.46 points above fair value, to 15,552. Futures for the Nasdaq were tacking on 23 points, or 22.56 points above fair value, to 3,106.

Procter & Gamble ( PG) was popping 2.07% to $81.96 after the consumer goods giant reported quarterly earnings of 79 cents a share on revenue of $20.7 billion, beating the average analyst earnings estimate of 77 cents a share on revenue of $20.55 billion. "We will build on these results in fiscal 2014," A.G. Lafley, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We will continue to make choiceful investments in core brands, our biggest innovation opportunities, and in our core developed and most promising developing markets."

Yelp (YELP) shares were surging more than 14.5% to $47.93 after the online local listings site exceeded second-quarter estimates and raised its full-year revenue outlook. It also was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Northland Securities.

Apple shares were adding 0.83% to $456.35 in premarket trading. The company's suppliers are gearing up for mass production of a new iPad mini in the fourth quarter that likely will feature a high-resolution screen from rival Samsung, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apple is working with suppliers in Asia on its next iPad mini with a high-resolution "retina" display, the newspaper said. Component makers have been told that Apple plans to use screens from Samsung's display unit, as well as Japan's Sharp and LG Display.

Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) was declining 5.44% to $64.62 after saying Thursday that second-quarter earnings fell 57% on impairment charges, lower production and higher costs.

Whole Foods ( WFM) was slipping more than 1.5% to $54.64 after the organic grocery store reported quarterly earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $3.06 billion as same-store sales growth slowed to 7.5%. Analysts were looking for earnings of 37 cents a share on revenue of $3.09 billion.

Initial jobless claims fell 19,000 to 326,000 in the week ended July 27, according to the Labor Department. Economists on average were expecting claims of 345,000, according to a poll of economists by Thomson Reuters. The four-week moving average came in at 341,250, a decrease of 4,500.

Continuing claims for the week ended July 20 also declined, down 52,000 to 2.951 million, versus the average economist estimate of 2.994 million.

Meanwhile job cuts declined slightly in July as employers announced plans to reduce payrolls by 37,701 workers, down 4.2% from June, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said it in latest job cuts report.

The jobs reports will be followed by the widely watched July government nonfarm payrolls report on Friday as the market tries to find clues into when the Fed will start tapering its bond-buying program.

The July composite index from the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey will be released at 10 a.m. A rise to 52 from 50.9 in June is expected.

To be released simultaneously is construction spending data for June, which is predicted to show a rise of 0.4% of following an increase of 0.5%.

Automakers such as General Motors ( GM) and Ford ( F) are expected to report auto sales for July throughout the day Thursday. Analysts expect that sales in the month rose about 15% from a year earlier. Ford shares were up 1.18% to $17.08 in premarket trading.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 6/32, raising the yield to 2.604%.

The international markets were rising following robust earnings from financial services companies in Europe, the upbeat China data and the Fed policy announcement Wednesday. The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.07%, while the DAX in Germany was up 1.24%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up by 2.47%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng index rose 0.94%.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for China increased to 50.3 in July from 50.1 in June, better than the average economist estimate of 49.9, according to a Thomson Reuters survey of economists. The data showed that China's manufacturing sector continued to expand last month despite expectations of a contraction.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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