(Thurs 04/09/14 19:36:55)
NEW YORK (Sept 04): U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, ahead of a European Central Bank policy meeting and a flurry of economic data, including two reports on the U.S. labor market.
Futures added to gains in the wake of a Reuters report that said the ECB would discuss plans to launch an asset-backed securities and covered bond purchase program worth up to 500 billion euros at a policy meeting Thursday. A rate decision is due at 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT), with a press conference to follow at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).
Investors will peruse a host of economic data for insight into the health of the labor market ahead of Friday's payrolls report. These include the August ADP employment report scheduled for 8:15 a.m. (1215 GMT) and weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). ADP data is expected to show the private sector added 220,000 jobs last month while claims are expected to show a slight increase to 300,000 from 298,000 in the prior week.
Also due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) are second quarter productivity and July international trade data. Those will be followed by two reports on the services sector, with the August Markit Services PMI scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. (1345 GMT) and the Institute for Supply Management's August non-manufacturing PMI at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT).
S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 7 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 44 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 11.5 points.
Tibco Software rose 6 percent to $22.30 in premarket trade after the business software maker said it was reviewing its strategic and financial alternatives as part of a process initiated by its board on Aug. 16 to maximize shareholder value.
Ciena Corp shares slumped 11.8 percent to $18.05 before the opening bell after the network equipment company posted third-quarter results and provided its fourth-quarter outlook.
Joy Global slipped 1.4 percent to $61.35 in light premarket trade after the mining equipment maker posted lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit and narrowed its full-year earnings forecast range.
European shares erased earlier losses to gain slightly after the report on the ECB's policy considerations.
Asian shares steadied near seven-year highs, underpinned by hopes of a ceasefire in Ukraine, although a cautious mood prevailed before the ECB meeting.