U.S. futures higher despite Fed minutes, data ahead; Dow Jones up 0.17%


Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, although the Federal Reserve signalled the possibility it could begin tapering its asset purchase program sooner than expected, while investors eyed the release of U.S. data later in the day.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.17% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.12% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.20% increase.

According to the minutes of the Fed's October meeting, policymakers said they could start scaling back the USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program in the "coming months" if the economy continues to improve as expected.

Sentiment weakened earlier, after data showed that China's HSBC manufacturing index ticked down to 50.4 in November, from a final reading of 50.9 in October, missing forecasts for a reading of 50.8.

Financial stocks were expected to remain in focus for the third consecutive session, following reports Goldman Sachs' revenue from its currency-trading unit slumped during the third quarter. Goldman Sachs shares were still up 0.21% in after-hour trade.

On Tuesday, JPMorgan Chase, up 0.09% in extended trading, reached a record USD13 billion settlement with federal and state authorities to resolve claims over its sales of mortgage-backed securities during the housing crisis.

Elsewhere, Google was little changed in pre-market trade after Chairman Eric Schmidt said protecting Internet traffic with hard-to-crack code may prevent governments from censoring their populations' communications within a decade.

Microsoft was up 0.05% in early trading, a day after Nokia Oyj investors were said to have cleared the sale of its mobile-phone unit to the U.S. company in a USD7.4 billion deal.

Other stocks expected to be in focus included Target, Dollar Tree, Abercrombie & Fitch and Gamestop, scheduled to report earnings later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 slipped 0.25%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.39%, Germany's DAX shed 0.26%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.07%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.51%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rallied 1.92%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was release data on producer price inflation, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims and data manufacturing activity from the Philly Fed.

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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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