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Pre-Market Primer: Hurricane Sandy Impacts Private Sector Employment

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According to a global survey, 18 countries are less corrupt than the US.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stocks are set to rally today on the heels of positive developments in China.

In a preview for Friday's jobs report, payroll processor ADP said that private-sector employment rose by 118,000 in November after rising by 158,000 in October. Economists expected the US private sector to have added 7,000 more jobs, factoring in the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Nonfarm productivity in the third quarter rose more than expected to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% from 1.9%. Labor costs declined by 1.9% after falling 0.1% in the second quarter. Economists expected unit labor costs to fall by 0.9%.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.44% to 12,990. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.39% to 1,411.00 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures were up 0.23% to 2,670.50.

The ISM Non-Manufacturing index is expected to show that services industries expanded at a slower rate in November. Economists expect the index, which will be released at 10:00 a.m. EST, to fall to 53.6 from 54.2 (readings over 50 signal growth in the sector). Also due later this morning is a report on factory orders. After gaining 4.8% in September, orders are thought to have declined by 0.1% in October.

Chinese stocks rallied strongly last night due to improving economic data and policy support for the second-largest economy. The country's composite PMI, compiled by HSBC, rose to 51.6 from 50.5 in November. Party leaders also said yesterday that they will actively encourage further urbanization. Regulators also ended a rule that limited insurers' investments in commercial banks.

Pandora (NYSE:P) shares fell 18% in after-hours trading after saying that it will swing to a wider-than-expected loss for the year. The Internet radio company blamed advertisers' caution in recent months, partly due to uncertainty over the future of fiscal policy. Pandora's biggest cost, music royalties, amounts to 55% of sales, and that cost is growing faster than revenue.

Shares of Gap (NYSE:GPS) recovered slightly in the pre-market after falling over 10% yesterday. The retailer said that it will not issue a special dividend for year-end. Competitors in the specialty-apparel space have accelerated payments to shareholders, as the taxes on such pay is likely to rise in 2013.

Next Wednesday, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will become a part of the Nasdaq-100 Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX). It will replace Infosys (NASDAQ:INFY), which will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:NYX).

The United States ranked 19th out of 176 in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand tied for 'cleanest.'

The workers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, America's largest port complex, will return to work this morning after unions reached a deal late last night. The strike, which began on Nov. 27, prevented an average of $760 billion a day worth of cargo from being delivered.

Largely thanks to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, US daily oil production rose to a 15-year high of nearly 6.5 million barrels per day in September, according to the Energy Information Administration.

President Obama will meet with several top CEOs today at the Business Roundtable to convince them to back his plan to raise the debt ceiling.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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