January 4, 2018 / 2:15 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Dow eyes 25,000 on strong U.S. private hiring numbers

* Private employers add 250,000 jobs in Dec vs est. 190,000

* Tesla down after announcing Model 3 production delay

* J.C. Penney rises 1.35 pct on robust holiday sales

* Futures up: Dow 100 pts, S&P 7.5 pts, Nasdaq 30.75 pts (Adds comment, updates prices, details on ADP employment report)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to breach 25,000-mark for the first time on Thursday, close on the heels of records for the other major indexes earlier this week, as strong U.S. private hiring data added to investor optimism.

Dow futures were trading 23 points short of the milestone. The blue-chip index crossed 20,000 in early 2017, spurred by President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda.

"We're going through these milestone numbers more quickly but they have been steady and positive," said Aaron Anderson, senior vice president of research at Fisher Investments.

The ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private employers added 250,000 jobs in December, marking the biggest monthly increase since March, and much above the 190,000 job additions forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

A more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday is expected to show the economy added 190,000 jobs in December, down from the 228,000 additions in November.

"Economic data tomorrow is not going to be tremendously spectacular, but what we're seeing is very positive growth, a good economic backdrop that gives people more confidence in corporate earnings," Anderson said.

World stocks hit records on Thursday, driven by strong manufacturing and services sector data in major economies and the Federal Reserve affirming its view of gradual interest rate hikes this year.

At 8:29 a.m. ET (1329 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 100 points, or 0.4 percent, with 21,967 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.28 percent, with 125,598 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 30.75 points, or 0.47 percent, on volume of 27,579 contracts.

The S&P closed above 2,700 for the first time on Wednesday and the Nasdaq settled above 7,000 a day earlier.

Oil rose further above $68 a barrel to the highest since May 2015, supported by unrest in Iran, cold weather in the United States boosting demand and OPEC-led output cuts.

Among premarket movers, J.C. Penney was the most traded stock, rising 1.35 percent after the department store operator said its same-store sales during the key selling months of November and December rose 3.4 percent.

Macy's shares were down about 1 percent after the company reported a 1 percent rise in same-store sales for the last two months of 2017 and announced measures to save about $300 million in costs..

Tesla's shares slipped about 3 percent after the electric car maker delayed a production target for its new Model 3 sedan for the second time.

Victoria's Secret-owner L Brands fell 10 percent on disappointing quarterly earnings forecast.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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