US futures moving higher as budget talks proceed

AP News
Posted: Nov 29, 2012 9:07 AM
US futures moving higher as budget talks proceed

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures rose Thursday on optimism over a deal on the U.S. budget and ahead of a high-level meeting between the Treasury chief and Senate leaders.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 64 points to 13,021. The broader S&P futures added 7.5 points to 1,414.60. Nasdaq futures gained 17.25 points to 2,677.75.

The Commerce Department raised its economic growth estimate for July through September. Gross domestic product grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, much better than the 2 percent rate estimated a month ago and more than twice the 1.3 percent rate logged in the April-June quarter.

Growth during the current quarter is likely to take a hit from the disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy, however, as well as the budget battle going on right now in Washington. Economists believe growth is slowing to a rate below 2 percent in the current October-December quarter.

There has been movement toward an agreement in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a series of tax increases and spending cuts that would land simultaneously in January if no deal is reached.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is meeting with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday to push budget negotiations ahead.

Also on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 393,000 last week. It was the second straight drop after Superstorm Sandy drove applications higher earlier this month.

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Perhaps putting a drag on the market, retailers posted some lackluster comparable store sales numbers.

Target, The Gap, and others fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Shares of target slid almost three percent after it reported same-store sales fell 1 percent, when most had expected growth of more than 2 percent.

It's a critical time for retailers, who log a huge chunk of yearly profits in the weeks running up to the holidays.