Forex Pros - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, as shares in the commodity sector were boosted by firm commodity prices, while investors awaited key data on the labor and housing markets.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed a gain of 0.3%, the S&P 500 futures added 0.33%, while Nasdaq 100 futures edged 0.2% higher.
Shares in the commodity sector advanced in pre-market trade as oil and metal prices firmed. Precious metals producer Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold rose 1.2%, oil and gas giant Exxon-Mobil gained 1.4%, while U.S.-listed shares of British Petroleum climbed 1.25% after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch recommended buying the stock.
Meanwhile, the New York Times saw shares rise 1.65% after chief executive Janet Robinson said the media company was "very encouraged" by subscriptions for NYTimes.com. thus far.
In earnings news, discount retailer Dollar Tree saw shares jump 2.7% after reporting a 37% increase in first quarter profit to USD101 million. The company boosted its revenue forecast for 2011, citing positive comparable store sales.
Shares in PetSmart climbed 2.5% after it sad first quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 28%, as margins continued to improve, prompting the company to lift its full-year earnings outlook.
On the downside, shares in chip giant Intel dropped 2% after Goldman Sachs recommended selling the stock, as slowing processor shipments, rising competition, and record capital expenditure this year could pressure the company.
Meanwhile, shares in department store chain Sears Holdings could be active after it swung to a first quarter loss of USD170 million on 3.4% lower revenue and a 3.6% decline in domestic same-store sales.
Other stocks in focus include professional networking website LinkedIn, which is slated to make its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "LNKD", after it sold USD352.8 million of stock in an initial public offering on Wednesday.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were broadly higher as shares in the world's largest commodities trader Glencore International led gains on its first day of trading in London after it sold USD10 billion of stock in an initial public offering.
The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1.2%, France's CAC 40 rallied 1.3%, Germany's DAX climbed 1.25%, while Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.95%.
During the Asian trading session, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed 0.4% lower after official data showed that Japan's economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter, pushing the country back into recession
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish its weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as industry data on existing home sales and official data on manufacturing activity in Philadelphia.
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