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Futures Rise After Jobless Claims Report

Stock index futures continued to add to gains after a positive jobless claims report indicated the jobs picture is stabilizing

Jobless claims fell by 11,000 to 445,000, the lowest level in three months, for the week ended Oct. 2, below the critical level of 450,000. That's better than a Briefing.com poll, which said first-time claims for jobless benefits would fall to 450,000 new claims, down from the revised 456,000.

Meanwhile powered ahead as investors remained cautious at the start of earnings season, which kicks off after the bell with numbers from Alcoa.

Most sales from retail chain stores reported so far havebeat their individual estimates, a positive sign that shows the consumer was buying despite waning confidence and higher savings rates.

Positive results have been released so far from Limited Brands , Abercrombie & Fitch , and Zumiez , while more disappointing figures came from Target , BJ'sWholesale and Gap .

PepsiCo shares fell in the -pre-market after the company lowered the top end of its guidancefor the fiscal year because of changes in currency rates. Marriott shares are also lower after the hotel chain despite a boost in revenues as analysts focused on the slow growth in the sector.

The big jobs news is due Friday, with release of nonfarm payrolls data by the U.S. Labor Department.

A report on consumer credit is released at 1 jp.m. A concensus by Briefing.com estimates consumer credit will drop by 3.0 in August. The Federal Reserve releases new figures on total outstanding credit at 3 p.m.

Earlier in Europe, the European Central Bank’s left interest-rate unchanged at 1 percent. TheBank of England also left rates unchanged on Thursday.

European stocks were flat in early trade on Thursday and the dollar hit a 15-year low against the yen on growing speculation that the Federal Reserve may buy assets to boost the economyas early as next month.

On Tap This Week:
THURSDAY: Monthly chain store sales; Kansas City Fed Pres Hoenig speaks; Consumer credit; Mosaic shareholder meeting; Earnings from PepsiCo and Alcoa
FRIDAY: Monthly non-farm payroll; Wholesale trade; NY Comic Con; IMF, World Bank annual meetings

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