Futures Slightly Pare Gains After Payroll News

Stock index futures slightly pared gains ahead of the open Wednesday after ADP reported strong gains in private-sector employment.

The private sector added 201,000 jobsfrom February to March, according to Automatic Data Processing and Macroeconomic Advisers. The news comes two days before the government releases its closely watched nonfarm payrolls report.

Earlier, Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that planned layoffs dropped 18 percent in March, down from 50,702 job cuts in February. And the Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage applications dropped 7.5 percentfor the week ended March 25, led by a 10.1 percent drop in refinancings.

Despite significant global headwinds, and mixed economic news, stocks have been very resilient. Oil priceswere steady on Wednesday.

“I think people feel that the overall economy is improving … I think the jobs market is the most important thing,” Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin Brands told CNBC.

European shares rose to a three-week high in morning trade Wednesday, with carmakers among the strongest performers and Porsche up as the subscription period for its capital hike started.

Irish banks were braced for the publication of stress tests on Thursday, which could reveal the need for fresh capital, Reuters reported. Irish bank and insurer Irish Life withdrew its shares from the Irish stock market Wednesday after Irish media reports that Ireland's government will take a majority stake in it following the publication of the new stress tests.

Japanese automakers continue to struggle. Some 13 percent of worldwide auto output has been disrupted and the situation is still far from stable.

Honda has said it will cut production at its U.S. and Canadian plants starting Wednesday. The company has already suspended production at two plants in Japan. Toyota has also told American dealers to curtail orders.

In earnings news, Family Dollar gained after reporting robust profits on strong sales.

Chemicals company DuPont rose slightly after it extended its $6 billion takeover bid for Denmark’s Danisco.

In tech news, Apple fell slightly after Jefferies pared earnings estimates in part because of supply constraints related to the disaster in Japan. Jefferies remains positive about the company, however, and reiterated its buy rating and $450 price target.

Coming Up This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Oil inventories, seven-year Treasury note auction, farm prices, Wal-Mart international investor conference; earnings from Mosaic after-the-bell; Bullard and Hoenig speak.
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, Chicago PMI, factory orders, money supply; Lacker speaks, Tarullo speaks.
FRIDAY: Auto sales, nonfarm payroll report, ISM manufacturing index, construction spending; Plosser speaks.

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