Stock Futures Rise as Republicans Will Meet Obama

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a stronger open Thursday after
President Barack Obama and House Republicans agreed to meet to discuss a possible deal to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, allowing for more time for broader fiscal negotiations between.

House Republicans are expected to meet Obama at the White House in the late afternoon on Thursday. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to urge cooperation in Washington as he appears before the Senate Finance Committee beginning at 8.30 a.m. EDT for testimony on the debt ceiling.

The nomination of Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as the chief of the Federal Reserve continued to resonate with investors on hopes that her appointment would guarantee a smooth transition at the helm of the central bank and a mild, incremental unwinding of the central bank's massive bond-buying program.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 14 points, or  12.6 points above fair value, to 1,662.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 113 points, or 111.02 points above fair value, to 14,841. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 27.75 points, or 25.76 points above fair value, to 3,160.25.

"Should we see some better than expected earnings, it could provide a nice distraction to the Washington drama," Ryan Detrick, a Cincinnati-based senior technical strategist Schaeffer's Investment Research said in an email. "But in the end, unfortunately I'm not sure earnings will matter as much as solving the budget issues."

Neflix (NFLX) shares were jumping 3.78% to $299.40 after Needham analysts initiated coverage of the movie and TV show streaming service with a "buy" explaining that it is the best way to play global broadband growth over the next five years.

Tiffany (TIF) was gaining 1.47% to $75 after Sterne Agee upgraded the jewelry stock to "buy" from "neutral" forecasting the company's potential to recapture higher profit margins in the next 18 to 24 months, its growing international presence, and an improvement U.S. business segment following several key executive hires and new product plans.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) was advancing 4.41% to $61.50 after the Foster City, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company said that it was able to stop clinical trials of the experimental idelalisib drug after an independent committee said that there was sufficient data to show that the treatment is effective in preventing the progression of illness in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients who are not fit for chemotherapy.

The market has been deprived of key economic data since the government shutdown began 10 days ago. However, Thursday brought the weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department. An increase to 374,000 from 308,000 was reported. Economists were expecting an increase to 310,000.

The FTSE 100 in London was rising 1% while the DAX in Germany was gaining 1.35%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng settled down by 0.36% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished ahead by 1.12%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 11/32, raising the yield to 2.705%. The dollar was rising 0.1% to $80.45 according to the U.S. dollar index.

November crude oil futures were up 34 cents to $101.95 a barrel while gold for December delivery was dropping $8.30 to $1,298.90 an ounce.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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