U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply higher open Wednesday ahead of the first trading day in September, and after signs of growth in the global economy.
Wall Street looked for a strong start to what is traditionally the worst month of the year, despite morning economic data that pointed to more weakness in the labor market, but following positive economic news out of China and Australia.
A report from ADP and Macroeconomic Advisors showed the private sector lost 10,000 jobs from July to August largely due to a drop of 40,000 jobs in the goods-producing sector. The news was offset somewhat by a separate report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas showing that planned layoffs hit a 10-year low in the month.
Last month saw the worst August performance for Wall Street since 2001 and the first losing August since 2005, after a see-saw day of trading that ended with the Dow eking out a 5 point gain. September is typically one of the worst months of the year for the major stock market indexes, although that was not the case in September 2009.
European and Asian shares were higher after a rebound in Chinese manufacturing boosted investor sentiment. China's manufacturing economy staged a moderate rebound in August after slowing for several months, according to the data.
At 10 a.m., the Institute For Supply Management issues its monthly manufacturing index, with consensus forecasts calling for that reading to drop to 52.5 for August from 55.5 in July. Also at 10 a.m., July construction spending figures are expected to show a drop of 0.5 percent following a 0.1 percent increase in June. At 10:30 a.m., the Energy Information Administration will be out with its weekly report on crude oil and gasoline inventories.
August auto sales will be out through the day, starting with General Motors at about 10:45 a.m. Analysts expect a drop-off from a year ago, given that August 2009 saw accelerated sales from the "cash for clunkers" program.
Apple is due to hold a media event at 1 p.m. where it is expected to unveil the newest versions of the iPod, and possibly new features for Apple TV. The Financial Times reports that Sony , meanwhile, will launch a new music and video download service designed to challenge Apple, as it holds its own media event in Berlin.
In other news, Burger King Holdingsis considering a possible sale and has been holding talks with potential buyers, according to reports. Its shares jumped 20 percent in premarket trading.
Shares of Saks edged lower a day after the luxury retailer rose more than 14 percent on unconfirmed takoever talk.
On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY: August auto sales; weekly mortgage applications; ISM mfg index; construction spending; weekly oil inventories; Fed's Fisher speaks; Apple event; earnings before the bell from Borders and Heinz.
THURSDAY: August chain store sales; weekly jobless claims; productivity and costs; factory orders; pending home sales; earnings before the bell from Del Monte, after the bell from H&R Block
FRIDAY: August jobs report; Fed's Lockhart speaks; ISM services index; earnings before the bell from Campbell Soup.
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- Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk, contributed to this report.