Stock Futures Rise as Fed Workers Remain in Limbo

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were moving higher Friday as hundreds of thousands of federal employees remained under unpaid leave as lawmakers stood at an impasse on a budget deal to address its looming debt-ceiling deadline.

Due to the halt in many government services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is operating with a skeleton crew and said Thursday that it won't publish the September jobs report, scheduled for today.

Still, a number of Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak at various events on Friday, stoking some optimism about the possibility of a flow of encouraging comments about the central bank's plans for the bond-buying stimulus program that has helped to sustain a slow if not steady U.S. economic recovery.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 3.5 points, or 1.39 points above fair value, to 1,673.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were advancing 23 points, or 10.52 points above fair value, to 14,929. Futures for the Nasdaq were gaining 6.25 points, or 2.67 points above fair value, to 3,208.5.

Dallas Fed Bank President Richard Fisher was expected to begin speaking at 8:30 a.m. EDT; Fed Governor Jeremy Stein will speak at 9:30 a.m.; Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker speaks at 12:30 p.m; and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota is slated to give his speech at 1:45 p.m.

Twitter, the microblogging site led by CEO Dick Costolo, filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. Twitter could raise up to $1 billion, a number that for now is just a placeholder used to calculate fees. According to the filing, Twitter's revenue in 2012 was $316.9 million. Revenue for the first six months of 2013 was $253.6 million.

OpenTable ( OPEN) shares were gaining 3.26% to $72 after analysts at Piper Jaffray upgraded the online restaurant reservations stock to "overweight" from "neutral" and raised the price target on the shares to $80 from $65 as they praised the company's increased focus on consumer marketing and mobile growth.

Biogen Idec ( BIIB) was adding on 0.92% to $236 after the company presented data reinforcing the effectiveness of its new multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera in patients given the treatment for up to six and a half years.

Biogen peer Pfizer ( PFE) meanwhile was edging higher to $28.80 after announcing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its new drug that helps to prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.14% and the DAX in Germany was higher by 0.15%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng settled down 0.33% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down by 0.94%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 4/32, lifting the yield to 2.623%. The dollar was rising 0.18% to $79.89 according to the U.S. dollar index.

December gold futures contracts were slipping $1.40 to $1,316.20 an ounce, while November crude oil futures were up by 26 cents to $103.57 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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