U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength On Upbeat Earnings News

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Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks are likely to move mostly higher in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 1.3 percent.

Another batch of upbeat earnings news may contribute to initial strength on Wall Street, with shares of Meta (FB) soaring in pre-market trading after the Facebook parent reported better than expected quarterly earnings.

Chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) is also likely to see initial strength after reporting quarterly results that beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

McDonald's (MCD), Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY), and Southwest (LUV) are also seeing pre-market strength after reporting better than expected quarterly earnings.

However, buying interest may be somewhat subdued after the Commerce Department released a report showing U.S. economic activity unexpectedly contracted in the first quarter of 2022.

The report said real gross domestic product declined by 1.4 percent in the first quarter after spiking by 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021. The pullback surprised economists, who had expected GDP to increase by 1.1 percent.

The Commerce Department said the unexpected drop in GDP reflected decreases in private inventory investment, exports, and government spending along with an increase in imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP

On the other hand, the report showed increases in consumer spending, non-residential fixed investment and residential fixed investment.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly lower in the week ended April 23rd.

U.S. stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday, with investors tracking quarterly earnings updates and closely following the developments on the geopolitical front. The mood remained cautious amid concerns about inflation and looming interest rate hikes.

The Dow, which briefly slipped into the red around mid-morning, recovered well but pared most of its gains in the final hour to eventually close at 33,301.93, up 61.75 points or 0.2 percent.

The S&P 500 settled at 4,183.96 with a gain of 8.76 points or 0.2 percent, after climbing to 4,240.71 about an hour past noon. The Nasdaq ended down 1.81 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 12,488.93 despite having climbed to 12,703.79 in early trading.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.8 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 1.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.8 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are unchanged after rising $0.32 to $102.02 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after falling $15.40 to $1,888.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $3.10 to $1,891.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 130.81 yen versus the 128.43 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0495 compared to yesterday's $1.0557.

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