After reporting a bigger than expected increase in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday that once again showed stronger than expected durable goods orders growth in the month of March. The report said durable goods orders surged up by 2.6 percent in March after jumping by a revised 2.1 percent in February.
Package delivery giant United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Thursday reported lower profit for the first quarter, amid a tepid growth in revenues, hit by the severe weather conditions. Both earnings and revenues missed Wall Street expectations and the company expects full year earnings per share to be at the low end of its previous projection.
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended April 19th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, with initial jobless claims climbing further off their recent lows. The report said initial jobless claims rose to 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 305,000.
After giving back some ground in the previous session, stocks are likely to move back to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 40 points.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that any worsening of the euro area inflation outlook may prompt the bank to adopt a broad-based asset buying scheme. "Unlike the other contingencies, the objective here would not be to defend the current stance, but rather to increase meaningfully the degree of monetary accommodation," Draghi said in a speech in Amsterdam.
Zimmer Holdings, Inc., a manufacturer of orthopedic reconstructive, spinal and trauma devices, reported Thursday a higher profit in its first quarter with increased sales. Adjusted earnings topped analysts' estimates, while sales missed their view. Further, the company trimmed its forecast for fiscal 2014 earnings, and backed sales growth view.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY) Thursday reported a plunge in first-quarter profit as revenues decreased significantly, amid patent expirations for anti-depressant Cymbalta and osteoporosis drug Evista. Yet, earnings met Wall Street estimates while revenues fell short of expectations. The company updated its outlook for reported full year earnings.
Sentiment among German firms improved unexpectedly in April as businesses were more confident about their future activities, a closely watched survey showed Thursday. Even the risks emanating from the Ukraine crisis left business morale untouched. Business confidence rose to 111.2 in April from 110.7 in March, a survey conducted by the Munich-based Ifo Institute, among 7,000 firms, revealed.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. reported Thursday a sharp decline in first-quarter profit hurt by charges as well as lower sales, despite an improving environment for both demand and pricing. Further, the company lifted the lower end of its fiscal 2014 earnings forecast range.
Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), a provider of video, high-speed data and voice services, Thursday said first-quarter profit increased from the previous year, amid a modest growth in revenues. Adjusted earnings topped expectations, while revenues fell shy of estimates.
Even as the recent gains have rendered the mood cautious, more positive news is trickling in, this time in the form of strong financial results from tech companies such as Apple and Facebook. The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday. However, it remains to be seen if the broader market could be supported by the tech optimism.
Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc Thursday reported a sharp fall in the first-quarter profit, citing loss on disposal of Alderley Park and impact of acquisition of global diabetes alliance. Revenues remained almost flat, while grew 3 percent at constant exchange rates. The company also maintained its financial guidance for 2014.
Diversified miner Anglo American Plc. (AAUKY.PK, AAL.L) Thursday reported significant increases in production of iron ore and copper, but platinum output declined 39 percent amid the strike in South Africa. Further, the firm lifted its copper production guidance for fiscal 2014. The stock was up over 3 percent in early morning trading.
Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever Plc Thursday reported a 6.3 percent decline in the first-quarter turnover, reflecting a negative currency impact of 8.9 percent. Underlying sales growth was 3.6 percent, with emerging markets increasing 6.6 percent.
French energy management firm Schneider Electric S.A. (SBGSF.PK) Thursday reported growth in first-quarter revenues on a reported as well as organic basis. Stating that the trends in the quarter were in line with its expectations at the beginning of the year, the company confirmed its guidance for 2014.