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U.S. Stock Futures Rise After ECB Adds Bond Buying, Cuts Rates

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index near an all-time high, after the European Central Bank unexpectedly cut interest rates and announced a bond-buying program to stimulate economic growth.

Futures on the S&P 500 expiring this month added 0.4 percent to 2,005.7 at 8:33 a.m. in New York. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts rose 45 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,118.

The ECB reduced all three of its main interest rates by 10 basis points, dropping the benchmark rate to 0.05 percent and the deposit rate to minus 0.2 percent. A reduction in the benchmark rate was predicted by just 6 of 57 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

The cuts come three months after a historic package of stimulus measures and two weeks after ECB President Mario Draghi signaled he was ready to act again amid a mounting threat of deflation and rising tensions with Russia.

The U.S. equity gauge slipped yesterday, erasing gains after reaching a record, amid conflicting reports about progress on a peace plan for Ukraine.

Data today showed applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. were little changed last week as an improving economy prompted businesses to retain staff. Jobless claims rose by 4,000 to 302,000 in the week ended Aug. 30. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 300,000. The total number of people on benefit rolls fell to the lowest level in more than seven years.

A private report on payrolls indicated U.S. firms added 204,000 jobs in August, fewer than the 220,000 estimated in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The monthly Labor Department jobs report due tomorrow will show that companies boosted payrolls in August by more than 200,000 for a seventh-straight month, according to a separate Bloomberg survey.

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