* China data shows improvement in manufacturing
* Weekly jobless claims, Markit manufacturing data on tap
* 47 S&P 500 companies scheduled to report earnings
* Futures up: Dow 67 pts, S&P 6.4 pts, Nasdaq 11.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 24 U.S. stock index futures
advanced on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 will rebound from
its first decline in the last six sessions, ahead of labor
market and manufacturing data and a slew of corporate earnings.
Economic data on China's giant manufacturing sector helped
boost investor sentiment, with the preliminary flash Markit/HSBC
Purchasing Managers Index showing a 50.9 reading in October,
above September's final reading of 50.2 and marking a
Investors will eye weekly U.S. initial jobless claims data
due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) for signs of improvement after
the recent disappointing payrolls report. Economists in a
Reuters survey forecast a total of 340,000 new filings compared
with 358,000 in the prior week.
The U.S. flash Markit Manufacturing PMI for October will be
released at 8:58 a.m. (1258 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey
forecast a reading of 52.5 compared with a final September level
With a mixed bag of corporate earnings so far, investors
will likely push the equity market higher on expectations that
the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue its stimulus measures,
which have propped up the equity market and economy for much of
The S&P 500 has risen 1.4 percent since politicians
in Washington ended a stalemate Oct. 16 to avoid a debt default
and end a partial government shutdown, but the damage to the
economy has led investors to expect the Fed to delay scaling
back its stimulus for several months.
Corporate earnings continue to pour in, with 47 S&P 500
components expected to report Thursday, including
Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc after the
"The earnings picture was not supposed to be that great this
quarter and in fact we are seeing that. The thing that is
disappointing is top-line revenue and those are not good signs,"
said Keith Bliss, senior vice-president at Cuttone & Co in New
"So what is going to drive the market from that point is
going to be Washington policy and Fed policy."
S&P 500 futures rose 6.4 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 67
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11.75 points.
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as shares of heavy-equipment
maker Caterpillar and semiconductor companies tumbled after they
reported earnings, ending the S&P 500's four-session streak of
record high finishes.
Dow component 3M Co reported a 6 percent rise in
quarterly profit due to higher sales across all its businesses.
Ford Motor Co rose 3.9 percent to $18.20 in premarket
trade after the second-largest U.S. automaker reported
higher-than-expected third-quarter profit and boosted its
full-year global earnings outlook.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning,
of the 160 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings,
66.3 percent have topped Wall Street expectations, above the 63
percent beat rate since 1994 and roughly in line with the 66
percent rate over the past four quarters.
On a revenue basis, 53.8 percent of reporting companies have
beaten analysts' expectations, below the 61 percent beat rate
since 2002 but above the 49 percent rate for the past four
Mining and auto stocks lifted European shares on Thursday
after encouraging manufacturing data from big consumer China,
but mixed earnings from companies trading on high valuations
Chinese shares slipped in volatile trade as a further spike
in China's money-market rates tempered the effect of the