* Hologic up on Icahn stake, pares gain on shareholders
* Target cuts full year profit forecast
* Abercrombie shares fall after results
* Futures up: Dow 49 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 13 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to rise at
the open on Thursday after data suggested stronger labor market
conditions and subdued inflation pressures, while traders
digested the Federal Reserve's latest assessment of the economy.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits fell more than expected last week and producer prices
fell for a second straight month in October, indicating
inflation pressures remain benign.
Separate data showed U.S. manufacturing rebounded this month
after hitting a one-year low in October and output grew at its
fastest pace in nine months.
An indication that the Fed may be ready to start scaling
back its $85 billion a month stimulus had weighed on equities
Wednesday. The central bank has repeated it will not taper until
the economy can stand on its own and interest rates will remain
low well after stimulus is cut back.
"For a long time we have been focused on nothing but the
Fed, but the Fed has differentiated well enough between taper
and tighten," said Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at
Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
"In that environment, good news becomes good news and the
market should react strongly to positive economic data and jobs
S&P 500 futures rose 5 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 49
points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 13 points.
The S&P 500 closed down for a third straight session on
Wednesday, while the Dow toughed 16,000 and failed to close
above it once more. That level as well as 1,800 on the S&P have
provided resistance so far, but a clear climb above them could
further entice money managers eager to chase performance.
Target shares fell 3 percent in premarket trading
after comparable sales rose a smaller than expected 0.9 percent
in the third quarter and it lowered its full year profit
Activist investor Carl Icahn reported a 12.6 percent stake
in medical device maker Hologic Inc, prompting the
company to adopt a shareholder rights plan to protect itself
from hostile takeovers. Hologic shares rose 3.1 percent in
Sears Holdings, which operates its eponymous
department stores and the Kmart discount chain, reported a wider
quarterly net loss as sales fell at both chains and it invested
in more promotions targeting rewards members. Shares fell 4.4
Abercrombie & Fitch reported a quarterly loss, with
comparable-store sales declining for a seventh straight quarter
as the teen apparel retailer struggled with the changing tastes
of young shoppers. Its shares dropped 3.2 percent in premarket
At 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT) the Philadelphia Federal Reserve
Bank releases the November business activity survey.