Stocks - U.S. Futures Rise as Focus Shifts to Earnings, Data and Trade Talks

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Stocks - U.S. Futures Rise as Focus Shifts to Earnings, Data and Trade Talks
Credit: © Reuters. - U.S. futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday as investors looked ahead to a deluge of earnings and economic data while keeping an eye on trade talks between the U.S. and China

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 46 points, or 0.19%, by 6:44AM ET (10:44GMT), the S&P 500 futures added 6 points, or 0.24%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 13 points, or 0.19%

Wall Street appeared set to bounce back on Thursday after losses registered in the prior session with the focus remaining on earnings reports.

370 companies of the S&P 500 have already released numbers for the January to March period with 78% of the firms beating on profit and 75% topping sales estimates. So firms have seen earnings growth of 23.6% in the first quarter, the best since 2010.

Notable earnings reports expected out on Thursday morning include Kellogg (NYSE: K ), Teva (NYSE: TEVA ), Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN ), Cigna (NYSE: CI ), DowDuPont (NYSE: DWDP ), New York Times (NYSE: NYT ), and WWE (NYSE: WWE ).

After the close, results from CBS (NYSE: CBS ), (NASDAQ: OSTK ), Weight Watchers (NYSE: WTW ), Herbalife (NYSE: HLF ), Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK ), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI ), Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED ), Pandora (NYSE: P ), GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO ), Arista Networks (NYSE: ANET ), Sierra Wireless (TO: SW ), and Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH ) will be on the agenda.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) earnings will also be in focus after Chief Executive Elon Musk on Wednesday cut off analysts asking about profit potential in the company's first-quarter's earnings call, sending shares down nearly 5% in pre-market trading Thursday, despite promises that production of the troubled Model 3 electric car was on track.

Spotify (NYSE: SPOT ) shares, meanwhile, plunged around 7% in pre-market trade Thursday, after reporting earnings after the prior session’s close. Its first earnings report since going public last month showed a smaller than expected loss but revenue fell short and guidance disappointed.

Square (NYSE: SQ )'s stock also sank around 7% ahead of the open after the financial services and mobile payment company's weak earnings guidance disappointed investors.

On the economic front, attention will shift back to the data after the Federal Reserve did little to surprise markets in Wednesday’s policy announcement. The Fed kept interest rates unchanged, a move that was widely expected, and noted that inflation was starting to inch higher, leaving it on track to raise borrowing costs in June.

Thursday will see a raft of economic data with the weekly report on initial jobless claims , as well as readings on worker productivity and the trade balance , all to be released at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT).

A survey on service sector activity , and a report on factory orders are then due at 10:00AM ET (14:00GMT).

While waiting for the data, the dollar gave back some of its recent gains against major rivals, falling from a four-month high. The U.S. dollar index , which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.33% to 92.28 by 6:47AM ET (10:47GMT).

Dollar weakness helped prop up demand for gold as the precious metal becomes more affordable for holders of foreign currencies. At 6:48AM ET (10:48GMT) Thursday, gold for June delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 0.53% to $1,312.50.

Meanwhile, two days of tense U.S.-China trade talks between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He began Thursday in Beijing.

The talks are taking place after President Donald Trump proposed new tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing responded with a set of duties that could potentially apply to U.S. products too.

Any breakthrough deal during the two days of negotiations is viewed as highly unlikely.

Elsewhere, Europe’s major bourses were mostly lower, in a day dominated by earnings updates.

Earlier, Asian stock markets closed mixed, following the uninspiring overnight lead from Wall Street.

In oil markets, crude prices showed mixed trade as concerns over a rise in U.S. oil inventories and record weekly domestic production kept downward pressure on black gold. U.S. crude futures inched up 0.03% to $67.95 by 6:50AM ET (10:50GMT), while Brent oil traded down 0.25% to $73.17.

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