Futures High, Sentiment Upbeat after Chinese Trade Data

U.S. stock futures gained on Thursday, taking a cue from global equities that turned higher after an upbeat trade data from global economic engine, China, boosted the market sentiment.

At last check, futures on Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.26%, those on Nasdaq 100 Index added 0.26%; while futures on S&P 500 Index also tacked higher 0.26%.

Earlier today, a data release from China showed country’s exports grew by 14.1 percent in December YOY, beating economists’ estimate and up from 2.9% growth in November. The trade surplus expanded further to $31.6 billion in December from $19.6 billion in November.

Analysts at Danske bank wrote that latest data supports their view that China’s economic would pick up moderately in the first half of 2013.

On U.S. economic data front, Labor Department’s data on weekly jobless claims is due at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists’ consensus estimate is for drop in initial claims—down to 365,000 from 372,000 in previous week.  Commerce Department’s data on wholesale inventories for November is due to release at 10:00 a.m. EST.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is scheduled to announce its policy statement on Thursday. The bank is expected to keep benchmark interest rate unchanged. The policy statement will be made known at 7:45 a.m. EST and later at 8:30 a.m. EST, ECB’s President, Mario Draghi will hold a news conference. The Bank of England will also announce its policy stamen on Thursday.

In Asia all leading benchmark indexes ended higher with Japan’s Nikkei Index gaining 0.70% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edging up 0.59% for the day.

European equities were mixed with Stoxx 600 almost flat, FTSE inching up 0.08% while Spain’s Ibex 35 slipping 0.06%, at last check.

Shares of Ruby Tuesday Inc. (NYSE: RT) will be under spotlight on Thursday. Shares slumped 8.30 percent in aftermarket hours after casual dining chain reported wider than expected loss in fiscal second quarter.

Supervalu Inc. (NYSE: SVU) is scheduled to report fiscal third-quarter earnings on Thursday.





Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.