Jan. 10, 2013, 8:13 a.m. EST
Central banks in Europe keep rates unchanged
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
MADRID (MarketWatch) — Stock-market futures pointed to another day of gains for Wall Street on Thursday, with sentiment lifted by upbeat Chinese trade data and attention turning to weekly jobless claims and a couple of Federal Reserve speakers.
Central bank meetings out of Europe produced no key changes to policy.
Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NDH3 +0.66% rose 12.25 points to 2,734.25.
U.S. stocks rose Wednesday after a two-day slide, with the Standard & Poor 500 index SPX +0.27% up 3.87 points, or 0.3%, to 1,461.02.
Adam Sarhan, founder and chief executive officer of New York-based Sarhan Capital, said some support is coming from China export data and a positive bond auction out of Spain.Read: Feeding frenzy: 10-year Spain bond yield below 5%
Blowing out analysts’ expectations, China’s exports surged 14.1% in December from a year earlier, compared with a 2.9% gain in November. The trade surplus shot up to $31.6 billion from $19.6 billion the prior month. Read: China’s exports surge, boosting trade surplus
Data points and speeches
In the U.S., investors will be looking out for weekly jobless claims, which are expected to have dropped to 365,000 from 372,000 in the prior week. That report is due at 8:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern time. November job openings and wholesale inventories are due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern.
A handful of Fed speeches are scheduled for Thursday as well. Among those, Kansas City Fed President Esther George will present her economic outlook to the Central Exchange in Kansas City at 1:10 p.m. Eastern and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks at the Wisconsin Economic Forecast Luncheon at 2 p.m. Eastern.
“The speeches will be followed closely for signals on how hawkish they are. We assess both to be soft hawks,” said analysts at Danske Bank. Both are voting members of the policy-making FOMC.
In Europe, the Bank of England and European Central Bank concluded policy meetings with no change in key rates.
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern, ECB President Mario Draghi will host his monthly news conference.