Futures Pare Gains on Soft Manufacturing as Ford Surges

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring gains Thursday after a downcast U.S. manufacturing report though the index remained poised to open higher Thursday following the S&P 500's first down day in six sessions.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 4 points, or 5.02 points above fair value, to 1,745.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining by 48 points, or 51.67 points above fair value, to 15,399. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2.8 points, or 4.8 points above fair value, to 3,342.8.

The U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in a year in October, according to the Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index. The index registered 51.1, down from 52.8 in September, and was consistent with only a modest rate of expansion.

"The flash PMI provides the first insight into how business fared against the backdrop of the government shutdown in October, and suggests that the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the crisis hit companies hard," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, commented in a statement.

Despite the tepid U.S. manufacturing number, investors were still garnering some optimism about the global economy thanks to upbeat international results from companies such as Ford (F) and 3M (MMM) and the improvement in China manufacturing data. The flash China Manufacturing PMI came in at a seven-month high of 50.9 in October, up from 50.2 in September, according to HSBC and Markit Economics.

3M shares were rising 0.65% to $124 after the diversified technology company posted third-quarter earnings that topped expectations by three cents at $1.78 a share and better than expected revenue, as all units booked stronger sales across all the geographic segments.

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