(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher opening on the Wall Street as investors weigh a set of economic data and corporate earnings reports.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 28 points to 13,058. The Nasdaq futures added 11.50 points to 2,652. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 2.80 points to 1,409.60.
On the economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits declined last week, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 9,000 to 363,000 for the week ended October 27 from a revised 372,000, while economists projected 370,000 applications.
The ADP National Employment report showed that U.S. private sector added 158,000 jobs in October, better than economists expectations of an addition of 135,000 jobs.
The keenly-awaited Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data and unemployment rate are due on Friday.
In other data, nonfarm business sector labor productivity advanced at a 1.9 percent rate for the third quarter, beating economists expectations of a 1.6 percent rise. Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent, versus expectations of an increase of 1.0 percent.
Another data may show that the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index edged down to 51.2 percent last month from 51.5 percent in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Conference Board (CB) Consumer Confidence, which measures the level of consumer confidence in economic activity, may have improved to 72.5 from 70.3, a report may show.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note as markets resumed trading after a two-day shutdown caused by Hurricane Sandy that battered the East Coast.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: PFE, K, V, NFLX, JDAS, TDC, ZUMZ, OTEX, ELLI
In corporate news, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) retreated 1.29 percent in premarket after the company posted a fall in quarterly earnings as loss of exclusivity of cholesterol drug Lipitor in the U.S. continued to hurt results and the pharma giant narrowed its forecast for the full year.
Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) reported a rise in quarterly profits as sales grew in double digits, and the ready-to-eat cereal food maker backed its 2012 outlook.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) added 2.08 percent in premarket after the company posted better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The company also authorized a new $1.5 billion class A share buyback plan.
Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC) plunged 7.77 percent in premarket after the provider of analytic data services posted its third-quarter results and revised its full-year forecast.
JDA Software Group Inc. (NASDAQ: JDAS) surged 17.38 percent in premarket after that the provider of enterprise software services agreed to be acquired for $45 per share or roughly $1.9 billion by affiliates of RedPrairie.
Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ: ZUMZ) slumped 15.80 percent in premarket after the sports-related apparel company reduced its third-quarter earnings forecast after it posted October same-store sales that came in weaker-than-expected.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) shed 1.89 percent in premarket. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 10 stake in the company's shares, which he called "undervalued".
Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: WPI) posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly earnings, spurred by double-digit revenue growth from product launches across its three businesses. The generic drug developer raised its guidance for the full year.
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue, and shares of the New York-based radio broadcaster added 1.79 percent in premarket.
Open Text Corp. (NASDAQ: OTEX) lost 7 percent in premarket. The provider of information management software posted a sharp drop in first-quarter earnings and revenue missed consensus estimate.
Ellie Mae Inc. (NYSE: ELLI) surged 8.00 percent in premarket after the provider of on-demand automation services for the mortgage industry lifted its guidance for the full year after posting upbeat quarterly numbers.
European markets traded in green, with Germany's DAX up 0.64 percent to trade at 7,307.13. France's CAC40 rose 0.57 percent to trade at 3,448.82. U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.59 percent to trade at 5,817.04.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumped 1.72 percent to finish at 2,104.43. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.21 percent to end at 8,946.87. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.83 percent to end at 21,821.87. India's BSE Sensex closed at 18,561.70, up 0.30 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures inched up 0.07 percent to $86.3 per barrel. Gold futures added 0.22 percent to $1,722.8 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.05 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2967, and the British pound added 0.16 percent to 1.6155. The dollar rose 0.36 percent against the Japanese yen to 80.0600.