Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, as markets eyed the release of U.S. economic reports later in the day, after data on Wednesday fuelled uncertainty over the strength of the country''s economic recovery.
Ahead of the open, the Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.18% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.16% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.18% increase.
On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP reported that the U.S. private sector added 191,000 jobs last month, slightly below expectations for jobs growth of 195,000.
February’s figure was revised up to a gain of 178,000 from a previously reported increase of 139,000.
A separate report showed that U.S. factory orders increased by 1.6% in February, beating forecasts for a 1.2% gain. Factory orders for January were revised down to a 1% drop from a previously reported decline of 0.7%.
Financial stocks were expected to be active, after the New York Times reported that U.S. authorities launched a criminal investigation into a $400 million fraud involving Citigroup (NYSE:C)''s Mexican unit.
Separately, J P Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) slid 0.30% in after-hour trade, even as Russia''s economy minister, Alexey Ulyukaev, said that the bank will not face retaliation after it refused to process a payment by the Russian embassy.
The tech sector was also likely to be in the spotlight, as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Wednesday formally announced it has developed a voice activated phone assistant feature called Cortana, competing directly with to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)''s Siri. Microsoft shares were down 0.15% pre-market.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) added 0.19% in early trading after the online retailer unveiled the Fire TV on Wednesday, giving it a competitor to Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included RPM International (RPM), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 inched up 0.06%, France’s CAC 40 eased 0.08%, Germany''s DAX slipped 0.13%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 edged 0.01% higher.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng added 0.18%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.84%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish data on the trade balance, was well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to publish a report service sector activity.
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