US STOCKS-Futures up ahead of jobless data, HP, Dell earns

* Weekly jobless claims data on tap

* HP, Dell to report quarterly earnings

* Futures up: S&P 5.6 pts, Dow 37 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Adds quote, updates shares)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures rose
on Thursday as investors awaited weekly jobless claims data and
earnings from technology giants Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc
for signs of improvement in the tepid economic recovery.

At 8:30 a.m. EDT [1230 GMT], the Labor Department will
report first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week
ended Aug. 14. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast 476,000
new filings, compared with 484,000 in the prior week.

Earnings reports will come later Thursday from
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: ), Dell (DELL.O: ), Gap Inc (GPS.N: ),Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N: ) and GameStop Corp (GME.N: ), .

“After recent consumer related data that suggested
confidence may be coming back, the market is beginning to
anticipate other sectors to show some stability,” said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New
York.

Although the market still lacks a catalyst for a sustained
rally, “the fear factor of a double-dip recession is
dissipating,” he added.

Other economic indicators due include U.S. July leading
economic indicators and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank
August business activity survey, both at 10 a.m. EDT [1400
GMT].

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) rose 5.6 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures (DJc1: ) rose 37
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) added 8.75 points.

In corporate news, BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX: )(BLT.L: ) is
focused on getting regulatory approval for its $39 billion
hostile bid for Potash Corp (POT.TO: )(POT.N: ) before trying to
win over Potash shareholders, a source said.

U.S.-traded shares of BHP rose nearly 1 percent to $68.70
in premarket trading, while Potash added 0.4 percent at
$148.52. For details, see [ID:nSGE67I049]

American International Group Inc (AIG.N: ) is laying the
groundwork for its first debt offering in two years in what
could be a test of whether investors think the bailed-out
insurance giant can stand on its own, the Wall Street Journal
reported.

Shares in NetApp Inc (NTAP.O: ) fell 3.4 percent to $38
premarket after the U.S. data storage equipment maker said
revenue just beat estimates as quarterly profit more than
doubled. [ID:nSGE67H0KT]

Congressional analysts are set to release an authoritative
outlook on budget deficits as U.S. President Barack Obama tries
to ease voter anxiety about spending gaps that some fear may
thwart efforts to revive the economy. [ID:nN18215812]

U.S.-listed shares of Nokia (NOK1V.HE: )(NOK.N: ) rose 2.7
percent at $9.20 premarket after a Finnish newspaper reported
it could be an acquisition target because its stock is so
cheap. The report cited Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: ), Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis)
(GOOG.O: ) or Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: ) as potential acquirers.

Wall Street ended higher Wednesday, led by gains in
consumer stocks after a sales forecast from discounter Target
Corp (TGT.N: ) temporarily quelled concerns about consumer
demand.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures up ahead of jobless data, HP, Dell earns