U.S. stock market futures rose ahead of Wall Street’s open on Thursday, against a backdrop of mixed global markets, as investors look ahead to earnings from Dow Chemical Co. and Exxon Mobil Corp. and weekly jobless claims data.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJM3 +0.16% rose 37 points, or 0.3%, to 14,652, while those for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index SPM3 +0.24% SPM3 +0.24% rose 3.4 points, or 0.2%, to 1,577.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index NDM3 +0.35% rose 9 points, or 0.3%, to 2,833.
Only one item is on the economic calendar for Thursday, weekly jobless claims, and economists polled by MarketWatch are forecasting a total of 352,000, versus 351,000 in the prior week. Economists also advised that Easter holidays could cause a sharper-than-expected rise in the data, as people who apply for new unemployment benefits tend to soar around this time.
“A few weeks ago it looked as though we could be heading for a dip in the labor market in the second quarter, however that appears to have been a blip in the data,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari. “That being said, if we see a figure close to that again this week, it will just reignite fears of a spring slowdown in the U.S.”
“That won’t necessarily be bad for the markets though, with traders viewing the slowdown as a sign of prolonged easing from the Fed, rather than a reason to sell,” Erlam said in emailed comments.
Wall Street stocks ended Wednesday with a drop for the Dow industrials DJIA -0.29% , which fell 43.16 points, or 0.3%, to end at 14,676.30, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index SPX +0.0006% erased gains during the last few minutes to close largely flat at 1,579.
The blue-chip index was dragged lower by some downbeat results from Procter & Gamble Co. PG -5.88% and AT&T Inc. T -5.03% .
The earnings lineup for Thursday is another busy one. Dow Chemical DOW +1.61% , ConocoPhillips COP +0.83% , Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM +0.15% and Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co.BMY -2.01% BMY -2.01% are all reporting ahead of the bell.Read: Amazon, Starbucks, UPS are stocks to watch
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.04% and Starbucks Corp.SBUX +0.74% are both due to report after the market close.
Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. VZ -0.99% could be in focus on Thursday afterReuters reported the telecom major plans to bid $100 billion in cash and stock to buy out Verizon Wireless, which it jointly owns with Vodafone Group PLC VOD +3.33%UK:VOD +2.23% .
In overseas markets, European stocks struggled amid some downbeat earnings from heavyweights such as Banco Santander SA ES:SAN -4.00% SAN +0.27% and Unilever PLC UK:ULVR -2.07% UL +0.07% .
Asia stocks ended higher, led by Hong Kong as energy producers climbed after oil prices rose.
Gold continued to attract buyers, while oil prices made moderate gains and the British pound rallied in relief after data showed the economy hasn’t entered a triple-dip recession as was feared by economists.