US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher as jobless claims fall

* Weekly jobless claims drop more than expected

* Euro zone economic sentiment at 28-month high

* Futures up: Dow 65 pts, S&P 7.4 pts, Nasdaq 11.5 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates prices, adds jobless claims data, changes quote)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, July 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Wall Street was set to open
higher on Thursday, following two days of declines for the S&P
500, after weekly jobless claims fell, offering hope for the
anemic labor market recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment insurance dropped by
11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000 in the latest week,
versus the forecast of 459,000, the government said. For
details see [ID:nN28202832]

“Getting an absolute drop in claims is positive, and this
is good from an economic standpoint,” said John Brady, senior
vice president at MF Global in Chicago.

“From a technical standpoint, we could see a pretty
positive session today, especially with earnings remaining
strong.”

Technical measures, such as the daily moving average
convergence-divergence, indicate the S&P 500 is in a strong
position to rise, even though it has not been able to repeat a
close above its 200-day moving average since Monday.

“The key now for the (S&P 500) is to hold above the 50-day
line, near 1,080, which if it can, would put a lot of stress
(on short-sellers)”, technical analysts at Instinet said.

S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) rose 7.4 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: ) gained 65
points and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) added 11.5 points.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ), the S&P’s largest company by
market capitalization, rose nearly 1 percent to $61.40 in
premarket trade after reporting a better-than-expected
quarterly profit. [ID:nN29213001]

The Select Sector energy ETF (XLE.P: ) rose 0.8 percent.

France’s Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: )(SNY.N: ) plans to make a
formal offer of up to $18.7 billion for Genzyme Corp (GENZ.O: )
after an informal overture failed to strike interest, sources
said. Genzyme shares rose 4.4 percent to $71. [ID:nN28226612]

U.S.-traded shares of AstraZeneca Plc(AZN.L: )(AZN.N: ) rose
1.6 percent to $42.34 as the London-based drug company doubled
its share buyback program after posting strong results.
[ID:nLDE66R1OD]

Sony Corp (6758.T: )(SNE.N: ) recorded an unexpected quarterly
profit and raised its full-year outlook. Its U.S. traded shares
jumped 6.2 percent to $31.40.

Further supporting equities, euro zone economic sentiment
rose to a 28-month high in July while German unemployment fell
to its lowest level since November 2008, boosting hopes for a
pickup in the consumer sector. [ID:nLDE66S0VN] and
[ID:nLDE66S0PL].

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) fell on Wednesday after weak durable goods data
and a downbeat economic assessment from the Federal Reserve’s
Beige Book kept the benchmark S&P 500 trapped below its 200-day
moving average.

Investing Research

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher as jobless claims fall