U.S. stock futures maintained gains after a report showed fewer Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment insurance last week.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in December climbed 0.2 percent to 1,392.4 at 8:35 a.m. in New York.
Applications for jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 355,000 in the week ended Nov. 3, the Labor Department said today in Washington. One state said the loss of electricity due to Hurricane Sandy suppressed filings, while others said workers who lost their jobs as a result of the weather were starting to apply, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.
A separate report showed the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in September to the lowest level in almost two years as exports climbed to a record. The gap shrank 5.1 percent to $41.5 billion, the smallest since December 2010, from $43.8 billion in August, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.
Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 2.4 percent yesterday as investors turned their attention to the budget debate and the euro area’s debt crisis following President Barack Obama’s re-election. Lawmakers face $607 billion of tax increases and federal-spending cuts that kick in automatically at the start of 2013, unless Congress reaches a compromise.
The S&P 500 has surged 11 percent this year as central banks stepped up stimulus to boost the global economy. About 71 percent of companies that released quarterly results have beaten estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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