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US futures follow overseas indexes higher
US futures rise following broad gains in Europe, Asia
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' U.S. stock futures followed overseas indexes higher Thursday as speculation continued that European officials will soon provide support to the region's struggling banks.

An hour before the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 62 points, or 0.6 percent, to 10,900. S&P 500 futures rose 7, or 0.7 percent, to 1,142. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 15, or 0.7 percent, to 2,182.

Futures fell from earlier highs after the European Central Bank announced that it would leave interest rates unchanged. Some investors had hoped that a drop in interest rates would stimulate the European economy by making bank loans cheaper.



The Dow rose by triple digits over the last two days on speculation that European officials will announce a joint effort to limit banks losses should the Greek government default on its bonds. A default would cause steep losses for holders of Greek debt and possibly push Europe into a deep recession.

In the U.S., the Labor Department said that the number of new applications for unemployment benefits rose slightly last month to 401,000. While that is a signal that the job market continues to be weak, the number was slightly less than what Wall Street economists had predicted. Unemployment benefits typically need to fall below 375,000 to signal job growth.

In corporate news, Apple Inc. fell 1 percent in premarket trading after the company announced that co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs died Wednesday. Jobs, widely seen as a visionary responsible for Apple's success with products like the iPhone and iPad, had stepped down as CEO in August.

Retailer Target Corp. gained 4 percent in premarket trading after its September sales results beat Wall Street's expectations. Other retailers are reporting sales results throughout the day.


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