* Futures up: S&P 5.4 pts, Dow 44 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts
* Rally looks set to continue after Dow record
* ADP private sector employment report on tap
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, March 6 Wall Street looked set to
continue its rally on Wednesday, after the Dow set a new record
a day earlier and ahead of data on the labor market.
Signs of a strengthening U.S. economy, continued support
from the Federal Reserve, and fairly attractive valuations
compared with other assets have helped U.S. equities rally this
On Tuesday, the Dow ended at 14,253.77, breaking through
October 2007's record close of 14,164.53. For the year, the Dow
is up more than 8 percent. The S&P has gained 8 percent in the
first three months of the year and is less than 2 percent below
its record close.
"I think this is a happiness hangover," said Kim Forrest,
senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in
"What's happening today is probably people that had been
extremely risk adverse during the roller coaster ride are now
feeling comfortable and, sadly, that's really not the time to
buy in when we're hitting new highs."
Forrest said investor attention should start to turn to the
labor market, with the closely watched non-farm payroll report
due on Friday. Despite signs of strength in some areas of the
economy, the labor market has been healing only slowly.
Investors will get an early look at the jobs market with a
report on private sector hiring due at 8:15 a.m. ET (1315 GMT).
Companies are expected to have added 170,000 jobs last month.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.4 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 44
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.5 points.
Overnight in Europe, stock markets rose to their highest
since the 2008 financial crisis. The European Central Bank, the
Bank of England and the Bank of Japan are all expected to stick
to ultra-easy monetary policy at meetings this week.
Other U.S. data on tap includes factory orders for January
and the Fed's Beige Book of economic conditions.
EU antitrust regulators fined Microsoft 561 million
euros ($731 million) for breaking a promise to offer European
consumers a choice of web browser. Shares were off 0.7 percent
at $28.15 in premarket trading.
Smith & Wesson Holding Corp posted its biggest
quarterly revenue and raised its full-year sales outlook for the
third time as buyers stocked up on firearms before tighter gun
control laws come into force.