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Wall Street Poised For Sharply Higher Open On Growth Optimism

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U.S. stock futures point to a sharply higher open Thursday as crude oil prices edged down amid reports that Libyan leader Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi agreed for a peace plan. Traders brace for economic data related to weekly jobless claims and non-manufacturing survey results and for the all-important jobs data, due out tomorrow, with increasing optimism about economic growth. Signs of easing geopolitical tensions in Libya as well as positive trading across global markets might also lift sentiment.

As at 6.15 a.m.. ET, the Dow futures were up 71.00 points; the S&P 500 futures were up 9.00 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures were up 12.50 points from previous close.

On the economic front, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended February 26th at 8:30 AM ET. Economists expect a small increase in claims to 395,000.

The U.S. Labor Department is also scheduled to release its final fourth quarter non-farm productivity and unit labor costs at 8:30 AM. Economists expect productivity growth to be left unrevised at 2.6 percent.

The ISM is scheduled to release the results of its non-manufacturing survey at 10 AM. The non-manufacturing index is likely to show a reading of 59 for February.

Earnings season meanders slowly into the last week and will, however, continue to be in focus with a slew of companies slated to release their quarterly report cards.

Before the market opens, Bio-Reference Labs (BRLI), Clearwater Paper (CLW), Del Monte (DLM), Fuel System Solutions (FSYS), Midas (MDS), and Rhino Resource Partners (RNO) are among the major companies that are lined up to report their quarterly report cards.

Anadys Pharma (ADUS), DepoMed (DEPO), EnergySolutions (ES), Novell (NOVL) and Union Drilling (UDRL) are among the major companies that will release their quarterly results after the markets close.

Oil Light sweet crude oil for April delivery is presently quoted at $101.73 a barrel, down $0.50.a barrel from its previous close of $102.23 a barrel in New York on Wednesday.

Dollar The US dollar is presently gaining against the pound, but has pared its recent gains against the euro. Against the yen, the US dollar has been displaying choppy trading since the beginning of the Asian markets.

World MarketsAsian markets open for trading on Thursday ended mostly in the positive territory following sharp losses in the previous session on increasing optimism about global economic recovery. Positive cues from Wall Street where the majro averages ended in the green in the previous session, lifted partly by better than expected economic data, also positively lifted the market sentiment, Excluding the Chinese Shanghai market which had closed in the red with minor losses, all the other markets in the region ended in positive territory. The European markets are presently trading in the green with modest gains.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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