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Stock Futures Eye Third Day of Gains as Jobless Claims Drop

Tickers in this article: BBRY CAG CLWR WGO ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a third day of gains on Wall Street as global equity markets gained ground amid easing fears of a Chinese liquidity crisis and a drop in U.S. jobless claims. Investors also got a boost from data showing increased consumer spending ahead of a number of public appearances Thursday by Federal Reserve officials.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 10.25 points, or 9.19 points above fair value, to 1,605.75.

The Department of Labor Thursday reported that initial jobless claims in the week ended June 22 decreased 9,000 to 346,000. Economists on average were expecting jobless claims of 345,000. The four-week moving average was 345,750, a decline of 2,750.

"The latest reading brings claims back below the 350,000 line-in-the-sand beneath which the economy should translate into payroll gains," Andrew Wilkinson, New York-based chief economist strategist at Miller Tabak said in a note. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were adding 82 points, or 76.86 points above fair value, to 14,906 while futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 17 points, or 13.9 points above fair value, to 2,900.

Continuing claims in the week ended June 15 fell 1,000 to 2.965 million, according the Department of Labor. Economists were expecting continuing claims of 2.95 million.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal income increased by a greater-than-expected $69.4 billion, or 0.5% in May. A 0.2% gain in personal income was expected. Personal spending rose $29 billion, or 0.3%, in line with estimates.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday that China's industrial firms made total profit of 2.08 trillion yuan ($338.4 billion) in the first five months of this year, up 12.3% from the same time last year. For May alone, a year-over-year gain of 15.5% was registered, according to the NBS.

ConAgra Foods was rising 1.95% to $34 after the food producer booked fiscal fourth quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny, as the company continues to reap earnings contributions from its Ralcorp acquisition.

Winnebago Industries was popping 4.77% to $21.96 after the recreational vehicle maker booked much better-than-expected quarterly revenue. The company nearly doubled its net income from the same period last year, bolstered by stronger dealer and retail demand.

BlackBerry was advancing 1.68% to $15.16. The company is set to report its May quarterly earnings on Friday morning before the open. The bulls think that if BlackBerry beats this quarter, it will be a sign the existing subscriber base is still embracing the new BlackBerry phones and the stock is still trading too cheaply relative to others, according to Eric Jackson, president and founder of Ironfire Capital, a Naples, Fla.-based hedge fund.