Stock Futures Higher Ahead of Data on Mood of Consumers

×
Stock Futures Higher Ahead of Data on Mood of Consumers(Updated: 9:19 a.m.)
NEW YORK -- Stock futures rose Thursday with fewer Americans seeking unemployment benefits and early signs that consumers are feeling more confident about spending.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 4 points to 13,932. The broader S&P futures tacked on 1.4 points to 1,508.20. Nasdaq futures gained 7.5 points to 2,744.75.

The Labor Department said that weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 350,500, the lowest in nearly five years. The average is as low as it is, however, partly due to seasonal factors, which reduced applications sharply last month.

Retailers are releasing sales figures for January and, while early, there are some signs that people are now more willing to shop.

With about 70 percent of economic activity driven by the consumer, economists have been paying close attention to the performance of retailers like Target.

Target Corp. said Thursday that comparable store sales rose more than 3 percent, topping most Wall Street expectations.

Limited Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, said January revenue at stores open at least a year rose 9 percent, also topping estimates. Urban Outfitters also beat projections Thursday.

Still, Target Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel raised the issue of the recent payroll tax increase that is taking a bigger chunk out of customers' paychecks, and he said that people are still shopping cautiously.

Possibly supporting Steinhafel's take on the mind of the consumer, the Federal Reserve will release its consumer borrowing report for December later in the day.

And while economists expect to see an increase of $14.4 billion, mostly in student and auto loans, Americans still appear unwilling to take on much credit card debt.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Portfolio Basics

What are stocks? Learn how to start investing.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

13 Comments

Filter by:
cyrosie

What with that AOL statement "We're sorry, your comment couldn't be added due to technical difficulties, please try again". How many years is it going to take for you to fix that "technical problem"?

February 07 2013 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AC

Another useless story as the market is down quite a bit as of 1PM eastern.

February 07 2013 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to AC's comment
cyrosie

That's what I said when the market was down 101 points, somehow, that did not make it past the censors.

February 07 2013 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
larry

Invest in Colt Arms and DPMS Firearms their sales are through the roof!We're sorry your comment could not be added due to technical difficulties. Please try after some time.

February 07 2013 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to larry's comment
cyrosie

Amen with the "technical difficulties".

February 07 2013 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
larry

Invest in Colt Arms and DPMS Firearms their sales are through the roof!

February 07 2013 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
usaguy45

its all a lie

February 07 2013 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
usaguy45

its all a lie

February 07 2013 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
usaguy45

its all a lie

February 07 2013 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crabnebulajr

No the real reason is the Fed has rigged the game so you pretty much have to invest in the stock market to avoid having your nest egg destroyed by attrition.

February 07 2013 at 9:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pattyhar

Is anyone stupid enough to believe these bogus numbers? Unemployment is so "low" because millions of the unemployed have either maxed out their unemployment benefits and/or just given up on getting a job. I belong in both categories. And no, the job situation here has NOT improved!! I am a professional, and have worked all my lifem, never had difficulty getting a job (once received 3 offers in one day!), and live in one of the best areas for medicine, R&D, top-notch universitiesm and tech--touted as one of the top 5 areas for "opportunity" for in the US.

February 07 2013 at 9:46 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
papadb24

Banks and Wall Street still making the Big Bucks at our expense.

February 07 2013 at 9:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to papadb24's comment
pattyhar

AMEN!! Both groups get away with murder (or suicides in many cases too).

February 07 2013 at 9:42 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply