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U.S. Stocks May Open Higher On Upbeat Earnings, Economic News

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After turning higher over the course of the previous session, stocks are likely to see some further 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 95 points.

The markets may benefit from a positive reaction to upbeat earnings news from Walmart (WMT), with the retail giant climbing by 3 percent in pre-market trading.

The advance by Walmart comes after the company reported fiscal first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates on better than expected comparable store sales growth.

Positive sentiment may also be generated in reaction to a batch of upbeat economic news, including a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims dropped more than expected in the week ended May 11th.

The report said initial jobless claims slid to 212,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 228,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 220,000.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a substantial increase in new residential construction in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said housing starts surged up by 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.235 million in April after climbing by 1.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.168 million in March.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also rose by 0.6 percent to a rate of 1.296 million in April after edging down by 0.2 percent to a revised rate of 1.288 million in March.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve also released a report a significant acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in May.

The upbeat news may offset lingering trade concerns after President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and communications technology and services.

After recovering from an initial move to the downside, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. With the turnaround on the day, the major averages continued to rebound from the sell-off seen on Monday.

The major averages ended the session off their best levels of the day but still firmly in positive territory. The Dow rose 115.97 points or 0.5 percent to 25,648.02, the Nasdaq jumped 87.65 points or 1.1 percent to 7,822.15 and the S&P 500 climbed 16.55 points or 0.6 percent to 2,850.96.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.6 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are up by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.86 to $62.88 a barrel after rising $0.24 to $62.02 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,290.80, down $7 compared to the previous session's close of $1,297.80. On Wednesday, gold edged up $1.50.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.75 yen compared to the 109.60 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1187 compared to yesterday's $1.1201.

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