MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures rise on Ireland, data

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By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures gained Thursday along with the euro and commodities on a possible rescue for Ireland’s troubled banks and on better-than-expected data about the U.S. labor market.

Already up sharply, stock futures rose further after the government reported initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 2,000 to 439,000 last week, while the four-week moving average dropped to the lowest level since late in 2008. See more on first-time and continuing filings for state unemployment benefits.

“To see two weeks in a row below 440,000 is definitely encouraging in terms of the level of firings. The overall level still remains elevated and points to an economy that is creating jobs but not fast enough,” Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, wrote in a note.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,160, +165.00, +1.50%)  rallied 91 points to 11,086 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,196, +18.80, +1.60%)  advanced 12.6 points to 1,190.00.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,139, +42.00, +2.00%)  rose 25.75 points to 2,122.75.

The blue-chip Dow industrials /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,180, +172.25, +1.56%)  eased 0.1% on Wednesday, while the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,198, +19.70, +1.67%)  and the Nasdaq Composite index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,524, +47.57, +1.92%)  finished slightly higher.

Developments across the Atlantic also helped put investors in a bullish mood.

“Sentiment has been quite negative in the last couple of days due to Ireland and now it seems we’re inching closer to a deal,” said Mads Koefoed, market strategist at Saxo Bank. “So that is definitely one of the things that is helping sentiment at the moment.”

GM’s high IPO price

Dennis Berman and Simon Constable discuss how GM's underwriters achieved a high opening price for GM's IPO â€" an effort that will help to return billions of dollars of taxpayer bailout money to the U.S. Treasury.

European stocks rallied, with officials from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund due to start talks in Dublin on potential aid on Thursday. Read more on Ireland

Central Bank of Ireland Governor Patrick Honohan said Dublin was likely to tap a loan worth “tens of billions” of euros that’s expected to be made available following negotiations with the EU and the IMF.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 270.87, +3.56, +1.33%)  rose 1.2% in intraday trading, while the euro gained 0.7% to $1.3648. Read more on European stocks

Still to come on the U.S. economic front are leading indicators for October and the Philadelphia Fed’s November business outlook survey due at 10 a.m. Eastern.

GM shares to start trading

Car maker General Motors Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!gm (GM 35.21, +2.21, +6.70%)  will be in the spotlight, with its stock set to begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “GM.”

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