Stocks set to start higher

October 5, 2011: 8:50 AM ET

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set to open higher Wednesday, building on Tuesday's bear market bounce, as investors keep a wary eye on the turmoil in Europe.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up about 0.4% ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Investors digested mixed reports on the U.S. job market. A payroll processor reported a larger-than-expected increase in private sector employment last month. But a separate report said the number of planned layoffs surged in September.

Still, the overall focus remains firmly on Europe. A late-day U.S. stock rally Tuesday was sparked after the Financial Times reported that European leaders were becoming more vocal about the need to recapitalize banks.

"Until Europe isn't part of the news, until there is some resolution to what is going on in Europe, it is going to be somewhere on the stage," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks closed significantly higher, after spending most of the day deep in the red.

Economy: Private sector employers added 91,000 jobs in September, according to payroll processor ADP. Economists had forecast an increase of 45,000 private sector workers in September.

The number of announced layoffs rose 126% in September to 115,730 from August's 51,114, according to outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's the highest number of planned job cuts since April 2009.

The most important number of the week is Friday's employment report from the Labor Department. A CNNMoney survey of 22 economists forecasts that the U.S. economy added 65,000 jobs overall, with the unemployment rate expected to remain unchanged at 9.1%.

Greek default is just a matter of time

World markets: European stocks were higher in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) rose 2.1%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 3.8% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) jumped 3.3%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei (N225) lost 0.9%. Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed.

Companies: Monsanto (MON, Fortune 500) will report quarterly results ahead of the opening bell.

On Tuesday, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) unveiled its newest generation of the iPhone -- the 4S -- which is the fifth update to its iconic smartphone. Many investors and analysts were disappointed that the company didn't display a more radically redesigned iPhone 5. Shares were almost flat in premarkets.

Shares of Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) rose 3% following news reports that the online media company was preparing its financials to present to potential suitors.

After the close, hotel operator Marriott (MAR, Fortune 500) will report its quarterly results.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar was little changed against the euro and British pound, but fell versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for November delivery gained $2.17 to $77.84 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery fell 90 cents to $1,615.10 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury dipped, pushing the yield up to 1.85% from 1.78% late Tuesday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,462.94 -201.95 -0.82%
Nasdaq 7,146.13 -91.93 -1.27%
S&P 500 2,670.14 -22.99 -0.85%
Treasuries 2.95 0.04 1.27%
Data as of 7:59am ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 14.54 0.55 3.93%
Bank of America Corp... 30.26 0.08 0.27%
Apple Inc 165.72 -7.08 -4.10%
Ford Motor Co 10.82 -0.14 -1.28%
Advanced Micro Devic... 9.99 -0.12 -1.19%
Data as of Apr 20
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