US STOCKS-Stimulus hopes lift futures ahead of weekly jobless claims data

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* Futures up: Dow 0.53%, S&P 0.50%, Nasdaq 0.62%

By Sagarika Jaisinghani

Oct 8 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose for a second straight day on Thursday as bets of a piecemeal fiscal stimulus deal lifted sentiment ahead of data on weekly jobless claims that is likely to show a labor market recovery continuing to sputter.

The Labor Department’s report is expected to show 820,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended Oct. 3, slightly down from 837,000 in the previous week, but still hovering at recession levels.

Signs of a slowing domestic economic rebound and political uncertainty in the run up to the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election halted a five-month gaining streak for Wall Street’s main indexes in September.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has since

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