Stock futures rise ahead of a batch of U.S. economic data and some prominent corporate earnings releases.



NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Thursday as investors awaited a round of U.S. economic reports including labor market data and the Philadelphia Fed's business outlook survey, as well as some prominent earnings releases.

Fiscal cliff fears continued to keep the markets in check, however, and caused international investors to remain cautious.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 22 points, 31.05 points above fair value, at 12,566. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 4.20 points, or 4.71 points above fair value, at 1357. Futures for the Nasdaq were advancing by 6.25 points, or 5.48 points above fair value, at 2535.

"We expect continued volatility with bias toward the downside as markets continue to worry about the resolution of the fiscal cliff," cautioned Mike Simmons, managing director and partner at HighTower. "If Washington can reach a compromise in short order, we could see a nice rally."

The major U.S. stock averages were walloped Wednesday, dragged lower by persistent worries about the fiscal cliff.

The selling accelerated after President Barack Obama again stressed his commitment to ending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans during a press conference. The president's firm stance sets the stage for a tough battle with Republicans toward compromise on the next federal budget.

The Labor Department is expected to report at 8:30 a.m. EST that initial jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 10 rose to 375,000 from 355,000 the prior week and the continuing claims for the week ended Nov. 3 rose to 3.21 million from 3.127 million.

The October consumer price index will also be released at 8:30 a.m.. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report a 0.1% rise after a 0.6% increase the preceding month. The core CPI is forecast to have risen 0.1%, the same as the previous month.

Also at 8:30 a.m. is the release of the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which is forecast to have fallen to -6.7 in November from -6.2 the prior month.

At 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook survey is expected to indicate a decline to 2 from 5.7 in October.

The FTSE 100 in London was down by 0.32%, while the DAX in Germany was off 0.5% on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei average finished higher by 1.90% as contractors and exporters got a boost from support coming from Japan's main opposition leader, Shinzo Abe, for public spending and more monetary easing.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid by 1.55%.

Gold for December delivery was down $6.10 at $1,724 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts were falling 11 cents at $86.64.



The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 6/32, lifting the yield to 1.615%. The dollar was up 0.08%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, BP (:BP) said Thursday it is in

advanced talks with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission about settling criminal and other claims from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.

Wal-Mart Stores(:WMT), the world's largest retailer, is expected by analysts to report Thursday quarterly earnings of $1.07 a share on revenue of $115 billion.

Target(:TGT) reports third-quarter results before Thursday's opening bell, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of 77 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $16.92 billion.

PC maker Dell(:DELL) is expected by analysts Thursday to post a third-quarter profit of 40 cents a share on revenue of $13.89 billion. Dell reports after the closing bell.

NetApp(:NTAP), the maker of storage and data management software, delivered a solid beat in its fiscal second quarter on Wednesday and also provided a robust outlook.

Texas Instruments(:TXN) announced Wednesday fresh restructuring plans that call for the elimination of 1,700 jobs, or roughly 5% of its work force. The company anticipates charges totaling $325 million in connection with the restructuring program.

Texas Instruments is targeting annual savings of $450 million from the moves.

Starbucks(:SBUX) said Wednesday it would pay $620 million in cash to buy Teavana(:TEA), which sells high-end loose leaf teas in 300 shopping mall locations.

Honeywell(:HON) and Rockwell Collins (:COL)are set to receive major contracts to supply systems to Boeing (:BA)for its updated 737 Max jetliner, two people familiar with the decisions told The Wall Street Journal.

The contracts could be announced as soon as Thursday.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



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

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