November 25, 2009 / 2:08 PM / in 8 years

US STOCKS-Futures point to higher open after jobless data

* Jobless claims fall, durable goods unexpectedly down

* Tiffany rises, Deere drops after qtrly results

* Indexes up: S&P 3.1 pts, Dow 25 pts, Nasdaq 5 pts

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]

(Adds data, updates prices)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday after stronger-than-expected data on the labor market.

The number of workers filing claims for jobless benefits fell by a surprisingly large amount in the last week to the lowest level in more than a year, the government said. For details, see [ID:nN25343825]

Also, U.S. personal spending rose 0.7 percent in October, while durable goods orders unexpectedly fell in the month. [ID:nN25338535] and [ID:nN25342245]

The jobless data “puts us on the cusp of job gains, if not in the month of November,” said Richard Dekaser, president of Woodley Park Research in Washington. “The first month of job gain since the recession is not far off.”

With the unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, investors see an improved labor market as key for the recovery firmly taking hold.

S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 3.1 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 25 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 rose 5 points.

Also boosting futures was the U.S. dollar index .DXY, which fell 0.8 percent to a 15-month low against a currency basket after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes showed that policymakers saw the dollar’s recent decline as “orderly.” [ID:nGEE5AO19B]

The dollar’s decline Wednesday boosted commodities, lifting U.S. gold futures above $1,180 an ounce in early New York trading, while January crude futures rose by 0.3 percent to $76.36 per barrel.

Luxury retailer Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) advanced 6.4 percent to $44.49 in premarket trading after the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and raised its full-year profit view. [ID:nN25324014]

Farm equipment maker Deere & Co (DE.N) fell 1.4 percent to $51.58 before the bell after reporting a fourth-quarter loss and forecasting a decline in its equipment sales in 2010. [ID:nN25342884]

According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, demand for U.S. home loans slipped last week even as mortgage rates hovered near record lows. [ID:nNYS007566]

Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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