(By Balachander) U.S stock-index futures pointed to higher open on the Wall Street amid expectations that China central bank may launch new stimulus measures to spur growth.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 59 points to 13,404. The Nasdaq futures added 9.25 points to 2,783.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 6.60 points to 1,433.50.
The National Bureau of Statistics reported that Chinese industrial profits dropped for a fifth month in August, raising speculation that the government will will ease monetary policy next week.
On the U.S. economic front, durable-goods orders for August plunged 13.2 percent, sharply down from economists expectations of a fall of 5.0 percent. New orders - excluding transportation - unexpectedly fell 1.6 percent, versus expectations of a 0.3 percent advance. In July, orders for durable goods rose 3.3 percent, while dropping 1.3 percent excluding transportation. Durable-goods orders measures the change in the total value of new orders for long lasting manufactured goods.
A report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed real gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter, while expectations were in for the growth estimate to remained unchanged at 1.7 percent.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits fell last week a government data showed, fewer than economists expectations. Jobless claims declined 26,000 to 359,000 for the week ended Sept. 22 from a revised 385,000, while economists projected 378,000 applications.
At 10 am ET, a report may show pending home sales to have increased 0.3 percent in August after a rise of 2.4 percent in July. Pending home sales measure the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold but still awaiting the closing transaction, excluding new construction.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed lower for the third consecutive day as renewed worries about the Europe debt crisis and disappointing American housing data dented sentiment.
Hot Stocks Of The Day:ZZ, TPX, DG, MKC, FUL, THO, CPHD, LNDC
In corporate news, Sealy Corp. (NYSE:ZZ) rose 3.74 percent in premarket after the bedding manufacturer agreed to be acquired by Tempur-Pedic International Inc. (NYSE:TPX) for about $1.3 billion. Sealy reported a 98.5 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to higher national advertising costs. TPX shares jumped 11.09 percent.
Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) declined 3.33 percent in premarket after the discount retailer announced a public offering of 30 million shares of common stock.
McCormick & Company Inc. (NYSE:MKC) declined 3.37 percent after the spice maker's third-quarter sales were shy of consensus estimates.
H.B. Fuller Co. (NYSE:FUL) tumbled 7.13 percent in premarket after the adhesives products company reduced its revenue guidance for 2012.
Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE:THO) surged 7.85 percent after the maker of recreation vehicles posted higher quarterly earnings on sales growth of 15 percent.
Cepheid (NASDAQ:CPHD) shed 2.94 percent in premarket after the molecular diagnostics company, said it expects revenue for the third quarter, lower than expected citing intermittent interruptions in the supply of Xpert cartridge parts.
Landec Corp.(NASDAQ:LNDC) may be in focus after the polymer technology company posted better-than-expected quarterly results.
European markets rose, with Germany's DAX up 0.27 percent to close at 7,295.93. France's CAC40 rose 0.57 percent to finish at 3,434.46. U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.20 percent to end at 5,779.54.
Asian markets closed slightly mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 2.60 percent to finish at 2,056.32. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.48 percent to end at 8,949.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 1.14 percent to close at 20,762.29. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,579.50, down 0.28 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures jumped 1.24 percent to $91.1 per barrel. Gold futures gained 0.78 percent to $1,767.3 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched up 0.14 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2891. The British pound rose 0.42 percent against the greenback to 1.6234, and the dollar shed 0.10 percent against the Japanese yen to 77.6500.