Sentiment points towards a moderately higher opening on Wall Street on Thursday, as European debt concerns ease and earnings hopes build up. Apart from a slew of earnings reports due out before the markets open, the markets may also focus on the jobless claims report, a housing report and the results of a regional manufacturing survey.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are rising 73 points, the S&P 500 futures are adding 8.10 points and the Nasdaq Composite futures are moving up 20 points.
U.S. stocks languished below the unchanged for the bulk of Wednesday's session, as lackluster tech earnings report and European debt fears weighed on the markets.
On the economic front, the Labor Department is due to release its customary jobless claims report for the week ended April 14th at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect claims to decline to 365,000 in the recent reporting week after claims spike to 380,000 in the previous week.
The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales for March at 10 am ET. Economists estimate existing home sales of 4.62 million for the month compared to 4.59 million units in February.
Additionally, the results of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing survey are due out at 10 am ET. Economists expect the diffusion index of current activity to show a reading of 12 for April, a marginal drop from 12.5 in March.
Also at 10 am ET, the Conference Board is scheduled to release a report on the U.S. leading economic indicators index for March. The consensus estimate calls for a 0.2 percent increase in the leading indicators index for the month.
In corporate news, eBay (EBAY) reported first quarter non-GAAP net income of 55 cents per share, 8 cents ahead of the consensus estimate, while revenues rose 29 percent to $3.3 billion, also exceeding estimates. The company raised its guidance for the full year.
Marriott International's (MAR) first quarter earnings beat estimates by a penny, while its revenues were shy of estimates. For 2012, the company expects earnings of $1.58-$1.69 per share, surrounding the consensus estimate of $1.60 per share.
Yum Brands (YUM) reported better than expected first quarter results and also raised its earnings growth forecast for the full year.
Novellus' (NVLS) first quarter results met expectations, while its revenues exceeded estimates despite declining from the year-ago period.
Qualcomm (QCOM) reported better than expected second quarter results, while its third quarter and full year earnings guidance was soft.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Altera (ALTR), BJ Restaurants (BJRI), Capital One (COF), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), E*TRADE (ETFC), Freescale Semiconductor (FSL), Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC), Interactive Brokers (IBKR), Microsoft (MSFT), Rambus (RMBS), Riverbed Technology (RVBD), SanDisk (SNDK) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) are among the companies due to report their results after the markets close.
The major Asian stocks closed mixed, with the Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, South Korean and Chinese markets declining, while the Australian, Hong Kong, Indian, New Zealand, Singaporean and Taiwanese markets closing in the green. The Spanish debt auction scheduled for the day kept sentiment subdued despite the weakening of domestic currencies, which offered support to export stocks.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average languished below the unchanged line throughout the session before closing down 78.88 points or 0.82 percent at 9,588. Meanwhile, Australia's All Ordinaries ended up 14.10 points or 0.32 percent at 4,441 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 214.28 points or 1.03 percent higher at 20.995.
Meanwhile, Japan's Ministry of Finance reported that Japan's trade deficit came in at 82.55 billion yen in March compared to expectations for a deficit of 223.2 billion yen. Exports rose 5.9 percent year-over-year compared to a 10.5 percent increase in imports.
The European averages are advancing after yesterday's pullback, as earnings and fairly positive Spanish and French debt auctions offered encouragement. Spain successfully auctioned 2.54 billion euros worth of 2-year and 10-year bonds, slightly above the maximum target of 2.50 billion euros.
In corporate news, Nokia (NOK) reported a first quarter loss of 8 euro cents per share on an IFRS basis compared to a loss of 13 euro cents per share last year despite a decline in net sales to 7.35 billion euros.
Paint maker AkzoNobel reported a drop in its profits despite 6 percent sales growth, with the company attributing the weakness to weak end markets and cost inflation.
by RTT Staff Writer
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