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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher on strong ADP data
April 5, 2017 / 12:58 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher on strong ADP data

3 Min Read

* March private sector jobs addition top expectations

* Panera Bread jumps after agreeing to $7.16 bln buyout

* Futures up: Dow 48 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 1.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday after solid private employment data underscored the strength of the economy, helping partially offset investors' worries on President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on his policy plans.

The ADP National Employment report showed 263,000 jobs were added in the U.S. private sector in March, far more than economists' expectation of 187,000.

The report serves as a predecessor to a more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report due Friday.

The gains in the index futures gains come in a week when U.S. stocks have been trading in a tight range ahead of a highly anticipated meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The meeting, starting Thursday and which Trump expects will be a "very difficult one", is likely to focus on trade between the two countries and reining in North Korea's arms program.

Also weighing on investors' minds is Trump's ability to deliver on tax reform and other pro-business promises after recent setbacks in pushing reforms through Congress.

"There is a growing lack of confidence in the administration and that is creating hesitation among investors," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"There are a few uncertainties on earnings, the meeting on Friday with President Xi and the jobs data, which are raising some doubt today."

Wall Street has rallied on Trump's promises, with analysts saying the expectations of tax cuts have been priced in. The lofty market valuations will be in sharp focus with the first-quarter earnings season around the corner.

Dow e-minis were up 48 points, or 0.23 percent at 8:31 a.m. ET, with 21,409 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.17 percent, with 130,135 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.03 percent, on volume of 22,711 contracts.

The Federal Reserve will release at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT)the minutes of its March meeting, where it raised interest rates. The minutes could reveal how policymakers view the rate hike trajectory for the year and their thoughts on Trump's policies.

Among the premarket movers on Wednesday were shares of Panera Bread. The stock jumped 13.5 percent to $311.05 after JAB Holdings said it would buy the bakery chain for $7.16 billion.

Walgreen Boots Alliance slipped 0.8 percent to $81.85 after the drugstore chain operator reported a surprise drop in quarterly sales.

Seeds and agrochemicals company Monsanto was up 1.44 percent at $116.50 after reporting a 28.7 percent jump in quarterly profit. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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