edge higher ahead of Jackson Hole meeting, data
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[August 21, 2014]
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S.
stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, ahead of a
flurry of economic data and the start of the meeting of
top central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole,
Policymakers are due to discuss the labor markets of major economies
at the Aug. 21-23 meeting, with U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen scheduled to speak Friday. Investors will peruse officials'
remarks for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike.
The S&P 500 rose for a third straight day on Wednesday, narrowly
missing a record close by less than 2 points, after minutes from the
Fed's July meeting led investors to believe the central bank was
looking for confirmation in the labor market's recovery before
Investors will digest a host of economic data prior to the start of
the Jackson Hole conference, with weekly initial jobless claims data
due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Expectations call for claims to
fall to 300,000 from the 311,000 claims in the prior week.
At 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT), financial data firm Markit will release its
preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for August.
The Thomson Reuters estimate calls for a 55.7 reading versus the
prior 55.8 reading in July.
Shortly after that, at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), existing home sales
for July, the Philadelphia Fed business index for August and the
Conference Board's gauge of leading economic indicators will be
S&P 500 e-mini futures <ESc1> were up 3 points and fair value - a
formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest
rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated
a modestly higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures
rose 33 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 4 points.
Bank of America gained 0.6 percent to $15.61 before the opening
bell. The bank is expected to pay more than $16.5 billion to end
investigations into mortgage securities the bank and its units sold
ahead of the financial crisis, in a deal that could be announced as
early as Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said.
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Hewlett-Packard Co posted a surprise increase in quarterly revenue
after sales from its personal computer division climbed 12 percent,
but a flat to declining performance from its other units underscored
an uphill battle to revive growth. Its shares dipped 0.3 percent to
$35 in premarket trading.
Sears Holdings shed 1.2 percent to $35.51 in light premarket trade
after the owner of Sears department stores and the Kmart discount
chain reported a ninth straight quarterly loss.
Earnings are expected from Gap Inc, Salesforce.com and GameStop
later on Thursday.
European shares rose, with Germany's DAX index climbing to a
three-week high after a survey showed the country's private sector
grew for the 16th month running in August.
Asian shares came under pressure as a disappointing survey on
Chinese manufacturing overshadowed better news from Japan.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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