© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday, setting up the market to end the month with gains, as investors looked past brief weakness in the technology sector and focused on developments surrounding a U.S. tax bill and a key OPEC meeting.

The Republicans struggled to secure enough votes to pass a tax-cut bill in the Senate, as the measure moved toward a final vote late on Thursday or early on Friday.

Brent crude () prices gained 1.7 percent amid an OPEC meeting in Vienna in which producers are expected to extend a supply-cut deal with the goal of tightening supplies and propping up oil prices. [O/R]

In merger news, Juniper Networks (N:) shares fell about 8 percent in heavy premarket trading after Nokia (HE:) denied takeover talks. Juniper shares shot up 22 percent on Wednesday after CNBC reported that Nokia had offered to buy Juniper for about $16 billion.

Sears Holding (O:) jumped about 30 percent after the retailer narrowed its quarterly losses mainly due to store closures.

U.S.-listed shares of Credit Suisse (N:) rose about 3 percent after the company announced plans to cut costs and laid out its profitability targets for 2019 and 2020.

The Nasdaq recorded its biggest one-day drop in more than three months on Wednesday, as investors dumped technology stocks for bank stocks that could benefit from improving economic conditions and lower regulations.

Economic data includes a report on U.S. consumer spending, accounting for more than two-thirds of economic activity, which is seen as rising 0.3 percent in October after a 1 percent increase in the previous month.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, is forecast to show a 0.2 percent rise for October, up from 0.1 percent last month.

Separately, the weekly initial claims for state unemployment benefits are likely to have increased to 240,000 from 239,000 from the week before.

All the reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).

Futures snapshot at 6:53 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis () were up 90 points, or 0.38 percent, with 23,892 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis () were up 8.5 points, or 0.32 percent, with 144,765 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis () were up 20.75 points, or 0.33 percent, on volume of 34,866 contracts.

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