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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Advance as Jobless Claims Retreat

Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures rose, signaling equities will trim a weekly loss, as a report indicated applications for unemployment benefits fell for the first time in three weeks.

Coca-Cola Co. advanced 1.2 percent after agreeing to buy 10 percent of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. for about $1.25 billion. Green Mountain surged 42 percent. Walt Disney Co. gained 3.9 percent after posting quarterly profit that beat estimates. Twitter Inc. plunged 22 percent after reporting a wider-than-projected loss and slowing user growth. General Motors Co. fell 4.1 percent after posting a fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March climbed 0.5 percent to 1,751.90 at 8:33 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts added 79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,446 today.

“Despite some prominent earnings misses at companies such as Twitter, the U.S. earnings season has been going fairly well so far,” said Andreas Nigg, head of equity and commodity strategy at Vontobel Asset Management in Zurich. “Sales have also begun to improve compared to expectations. That should help support stocks going forward this year, but it’s key that the economic data improves again as we move into spring.”

The S&P 500 has slumped 5.2 percent this year amid a rout in emerging-market currencies and concern the reduction in Federal Reserve stimulus will hurt global growth. The gauge has retreated 1.7 percent this week as disappointing data has raised concern about the strength of the world’s largest economy.

Jobless Claims

Jobless claims dropped by 20,000 to 331,000 in the period ended Feb. 1, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 335,000.

The decline in dismissals shows employers are confident demand for goods and services will hold up at the same time fiscal restraints ease. A pickup in the pace of hiring and wage growth would help fuel bigger gains in the consumer spending that accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

A report this week indicated U.S. factory output expanded in January at the weakest pace in eight months, while data yesterday showed companies added fewer workers than forecast last month.

The Labor Department may report tomorrow that businesses added 188,000 employees in January after an 87,000 increase in December, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The S&P 500 lost as much as 5.8 percent since reaching a record 1,848.38 on Jan. 15, the first decline of more than 5 percent since June 2013, amid signs of slowing growth in China and a rout in emerging-market currencies.

About $3 trillion has been erased from the value of equities worldwide this year as the Federal Reserve cut stimulus. The European Central Bank and Bank of Bank of England both kept rates unchanged today.

Earnings Scorecard

Some 23 S&P 500 companies including Philip Morris International Inc. report quarterly results today. Almost two- thirds of the gauge’s members have posted earnings this season, with 77 percent beating estimates for profit and 66 percent exceeding sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Profit for the S&P 500 companies will probably increase by 4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, while revenue may climb by 3.7 percent, analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

Coca-Cola advanced 1.2 percent to $38.06. The company will buy 16.7 million newly issued shares in the maker of Keurig coffee brewers for about $74.98 each. Green Mountain shares surged 42 percent to $115.

Walt Disney gained 3.9 percent to $74.56. The world’s biggest entertainment company capitalized on the resurgence of its legendary animation studio with the hit film “Frozen” to post first-quarter profit that beat estimates.

Donuts, Tweets

Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. gained 1.6 percent to $48.05. The owner of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins restaurants reported adjusted earnings per share of 43 cents, exceeding the 40 cents analysts had projected.

Twitter sank 22 percent to $51.73. Its first earnings report as a public company included a loss that was wider than analysts’ estimates. The operator of the microblogging website said it had 241 million monthly active users in the quarter, up 30 percent from a year earlier and slower than 39 percent seen in the third quarter.

General Motors slid 4.1 percent to $33.80. The automaker’s profit fell short of estimates as it lost money in Asia outside of China and the company paid higher taxes and restructured in Europe.

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