Market overview: US stocks futures gain ahead of ADP data

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LONDON (ShareCast) - 1218: Stock futures in the States are pointing to small gains on Wall Street of around 0.1-0.2 per cent as markets await the ADP (Frankfurt: W7L.F - news) employment report. Consensus forecasts are pointing to a 195,000 increase in ADP private-sector payrolls in March, up from 139,000 the previous month. 'This would push us closer to the kind of numbers we were seeing prior to the adverse weather conditions that took hold from December onwards and thus seems viable,' said Research Analyst Joshua Mahony from Alpari. The report is due out at 13:15 UK time.

1104: Sports Direct International (Other OTC: SDISY - news) is rising strongly on the FTSE 100, extending its recent gains, after Liberum Capital said yesterday that the sporting goods retailer could expand its 'limited scale' in many of the 19 European markets in which it already operates. Analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said that organic growth alone is not viable, but identified 'potential [acquisition] targets which equate to over 1,000 stores across Europe and around 2bn euros of sales'. The stock is up over 10 per cent over the past five days with year-to-date rise of nearly 30 per cent. The FTSE 100 is up 16.78 at 6,669.39.

1006: The price of copper is rising and now at 6,696.75 dollars per tonne, helping shares of Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) , BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL - news) and Antofagasta (Other OTC: ANFGF - news) along. FTSE 100 up 5 to 6,657.

0929: Al Noor Hospital, the Abu Dhabi-based medical facilities firm, continued to surge after announcing yesterday that all resolutions were approved by shareholders at its annual general meeting.

0900: Financial groups Aviva (Other OTC: AIVAF - news) , Jardine Lloyds Thompson, Phoenix (LSE: PHNX.L - news) and Resolution were all trading lower after going ex-dividend. Other stocks on the FTSE 350 trading without the right to their latest payouts included Pearson (NYSE: PSO - news) , Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW.L - news) , DS Smith (LSE: SMDS.L - news) , Wolseley (LSE: WOS.L - news) , 888 Holdings, Next (Dusseldorf: NXG.DU - news) and Interserve (LSE: IRV.L - news) . The FTSE 100 is down 8.17 at 6,644.44.

0830: After hitting a three-week high of 6,652.61 on Tuesday, the FTSE 100 has opened slightly lower this morning as investors turn cautious ahead of some key risk events towards the end of the week, including a policy decision from the ECB and the US non-farm payrolls report. Copper miner Antofagasta is on the rise despite reports of an 8.2 magnitude earthquake in Chile, where the company is based. According to Reuters, the company has said that its copper operations were unharmed by the disaster. Domino's Pizza and ASOS (Other OTC: ASOMF - news) are making gains after updates, while GlaxoSmithKline (Other OTC: GLAXF - news) has fallen after ending a clinical trial. The FTSE 100 is down 10.92 at 6,641.69.

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