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Futures up after strong jobs data, before earnings

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK | Mon Jul 8, 2013 8:26am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stock index futures rose on Monday, putting the S&P 500 on track for its third straight advance after Friday’s stronger-than-expected payrolls report and before the start of quarterly earnings reports.

The benchmark S&P index rose 1 percent on Friday after government data showed robust jobs growth in June. But volume was light and action volatile because many traders were still away from their desks after Thursday’s Independence Day holiday.

“With the majority of Wall Street on an extended weekend, it was relatively easy to push the market in a given direction. A more definitive look into the mindset of investors is likely now that the long weekend is over,” said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.

Dow component Alcoa Inc (AA.N) kicks off the earnings season after the market’s close. The aluminum company is expected to report earnings of 6 cents per share on revenue of $5.83 billion.

Goldman Sachs analyst Davis Kostin said in a note to clients that rising earnings, coupled with stable margins, should lift the S&P 500 by 8 percent to the firm’s year-end target of 1,750.

S&P 500 futures rose 8 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 gained 60 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 17 points.

Expectations call for S&P 500 earnings growth to rise 2.9 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, while quarterly revenue is forecast to increase 1.6 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“A good earnings season could result in a fresh theme emerging as the market has been subject to interpretation of possible Federal Reserve action,” said Bakhos.

Later in the week, earnings are expected from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N).

Dell Inc (DELL.O) climbed 2.8 percent to $13.40 in premarket trading after investment advisory firm ISS has recommended shareholders vote for Chief Executive Michael Dell’s $24.4 billion offer for the PC maker.

Vivendi (VIV.PA) is exploring alternative moves to extract cash from its Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) unit after failing to sell part of its 61 percent stake in the U.S. video games business, the Financial Times reported on its website on Sunday.

An activist shareholder who has been battling Alere Inc’s (ALR.N) management said investors could more than double the value of their stock if they backed a plan for the health diagnostics and services provider to offload assets.

European shares rebounded, with a late recovery on Wall Street on Friday on expectations the economy could withstand the Fed’s scaling back monetary stimulus later this year, prompting investors to return to the market. .EU

However, Asian shares tumbled as the strong U.S. jobs data led investors to focus more on the prospect of receding monetary stimulus, sending the dollar to a three-year high against a basket of major currencies.

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