Stock futures point to higher Wall Street

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Stock index futures are modestly higher, following the lead of markets overseas ahead of an eagerly anticipated government report on U.S. employment in December.

Analysts had been expecting Friday’s report would show the economy shed 8,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate had edged up to 10.1 percent from 10 percent.

But news Thursday that new claims for jobless benefits rose only slightly last week encouraged speculation the December employment report could show the first net job gains in two years.

Global markets are gaining ground, with Asian stocks advancing after upbeat holiday sales figures suggested American consumers were spending more, helping boost the economy.

Dow futures are up 14, or 0.1 percent, at 10,559. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures are up 1.00, or 0.1 percent, at 1,138.50. Nasdaq 100 index futures were not available.