October 3, 2018 / 1:15 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street to open higher on Italy relief

* GM surges on self-driving partnership with Honda

* Lennar gains after profit beat, lifts peers

* J.C. Penney climbs after naming retail veteran CEO

* 230,000 private jobs added in Sept vs est 185,000 - ADP

* Futures gain: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.36 pct, Nasdaq 0.41 pct (Changes comments, adds details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

Oct 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Wednesday, buoyed by a rebound in European markets after Italy indicated that it was open to reducing budget deficits and debt in the coming years.

Concerns over Italy’s budget deficits and high debt levels have pressured global stock markets since the country’s ruling coalition last week tripled the previous government’s budget deficit target.

“Today, so far, has been better-than-expected performance out of Europe and that’s got futures up,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Antonelli said while Italy was not a gigantic catalyst for the market, but a loss out of Europe has been setting the tone for the U.S. markets.

U.S. bank stocks rose, with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase , Bank of America up between 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, mirroring a recovery in their Italian peers.

Among top gainers on the S&P 500 stocks trading premarket was General Motors, which jumped 5.3 percent after Honda Motor said it would invest $2 billion over 12 years in the U.S. carmaker’s Cruise self-driving unit.

Shares of J.C. Penney surged 10.9 percent after the company named retail veteran Jill Soltau as its new chief executive.

At 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 99 points, or 0.37 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.5 points, or 0.36 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 31.75 points, or 0.41 percent.

Lennar was up 0.5 percent, paring some early gains, after the U.S. homebuilder reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, benefiting from a robust housing market.

Other homebuilders also rose. D.R. Horton, PulteGroup, and Toll Brothers gained between 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent in light volumes.

Michael Kors rose 2.6 percent after Citi upgraded the company’s shares, citing a potential upside from its recent purchase of Italian fashion house Versace.

Intel looked set for a second straight day of gains, up 1.3 percent. The chipmaker closed 3.6 percent higher on Tuesday and was among the biggest drivers that helped the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average seal a record closing high.

A number of Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak on topics ranging from the outlook of the U.S. economy to the labor market on Wednesday.

ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. economy added 230,000 private sector jobs in September, highest since February and above the 185,000 increase expected by Reuters consensus forecast.

The ISM data due at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show its non-manufacturing activity index fell 0.5 point to 58.0 in September. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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