US stock futures rose amid jobless claims, confidence data

US stock-index futures advanced, with benchmarks heading for a third straight monthly gain, as investors awaited initial jobless claims data to asses the strength of consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring next month added 0.1% to 1,804.10 at 12:22 a.m. in London. The S&P 500 has rallied 26 % this year, heading for the biggest annual gain since 1998, as the Federal Reserve continued the pace of monetary stimulus. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts added 13 points today, or 0.1%, to 16,073. Nasdaq rose 0.2% as yesterday the gauge pierced 4000.

The Chicago purchasing managers index is due at 9:45 a.m. EDT, and could offer a further clue on fourth-quarter GDP as it tracks closely with that bigger number. The index is expected to drop to 59 in November from 65.9 in October. Any number over 50 signals expansion.

Traders focus on signals expected to show that overall, the economy is growing at a mild pace. Jobless claims are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, moved up a day for Thanksgiving holiday. Claims are projected to rise slightly to 330,000 in the week beginning Nov. 17, from 323,000 in the prior week.

Later, the University of Michigan will release its consumer-sentiment report at 9:55 a.m. EDT, and is forecast to rise slightly to 73.0 in November. The Conference Board will release its leading economic indicators report at 10 a.m. EDT.

Globally, Chinese stocks rose on financial reform hopes, while Japan pared some losses from earlier. European stocks advanced on better-than-expected consumer confidence data from Germany.

In corporate front, Hewlett-Packard increased 7.3% to $26.93 in early New York trading. Company reported sales, for the three months ended October 31, of $29.1 billion, the Palo Alto, California-based company said yesterday. That exceeded the $27.8 billion average analyst estimate. Profit excluding some items was $1.01 a share, compared with the $1 average estimate.

Shares of TiVo Inc. could also gain after better-than-expected results, while Analog Devices Inc. could fall after sales fell short of expectations in the fourth quarter.

Infoblox Inc. may also see active trading after its shares suffered a steep drop Tuesday evening in the wake of the data-center technology company’s quarterly results and financial outlook.

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