Stock futures rise on good news from Europe

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Published: July 29,2010

Tags: investing, investments, markets, stocks and bonds

NEW YORK — Stock futures rose today following further signs that Europe’s economy is bouncing back faster than expected.

Strong earnings worldwide gave European markets a lift ahead of earnings reports from many U.S. companies including Colgate-Palmolive, ExxonMobil Corp. and Motorola Inc. U.S. markets received a boost over the past couple of weeks because of largely better-than-expected earnings and hopeful corporate forecasts for future growth.

However, investors will still closely watch the Labor Department’s weekly report on unemployment for signs of an improving jobs market. Economic reports in recent months have pointed to a slowdown in growth, countering the optimism seen by company executives. Analysts widely agree that new hiring would spark a stronger recovery. Signs of hiring would boost consumer confidence and drive retail sales higher, a key component of economic activity.

The Federal Reserve said in its beige book report yesterday that the recovery in some regions of the country was weakening. The confirmation by the Fed that a slowdown is occurring helped snapped a four-day winning streak for the Dow Jones industrial average.

Initial jobless claims likely dipped to a seasonally adjusted 459,000 last week from 464,000 a week earlier, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. While a drop would be welcome, claims are still above levels that indicate a strong pickup in hiring. The report is due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 44, or 0.4 percent, to 10,492. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 5.60, or 0.5 percent, to 1,107.70, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 6.75, or 0.4 percent, to 1,876.50.

Strong earnings and outlooks helped stocks overseas. European indexes all jumped following strong earnings from pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca PLC, drug and materials company Bayer AG and telecommunications companies BT PLC and France Telecom SA.

Moody’s Investors Service also said ratings on banks in Europe would not be affected following tests by regulators on the continent to determine whether banks would survive a further economic slowdown. Only seven of 91 banks failed the test, providing assurances that the financial sector in Europe is stronger than previously thought.

The euro rose to $1.3077, its highest level since early May.

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.6 percent, and France’s CAC-40 gained 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.6 percent.

Bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.00 percent from 2.99 percent late yesterday.

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