US STOCKS-Apple, Facebook set to boost Wall Street after strong earnings

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-Apple, Facebook set to boost Wall Street after strong earnings

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* Apple, Facebook jump on strong earnings

* U.S. economy accelerates in Q1; jobless claims edge lower

* Electric vehicle makers rise on solid quarterly sales

* Futures up: Dow 0.44%, S&P 0.71%, Nasdaq 1.02%

(Adds comments, details; updates prices throughout)

By Shivani Kumaresan

April 29 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Thursday after stellar earnings from Apple and Facebook powered a rally in tech stocks, while investors parsed a barrage of quarterly reports as well as the latest batch of economic data.

Apple Inc AAPL.O gained 2.4% in premarket trading after posting sales and profits ahead of Wall Street estimates, led by much stronger-than-expected iPhone and Mac sales. Inc FB.O jumped 7.9% on beating analysts' expectations for both quarterly revenue and profit, helped by a surge in digital ad spending during the pandemic, along with higher ad prices. megacap companies, including Microsoft Corp MSFT.O , Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O and Netflix Inc NFLX.O , rose between 0.2% and 1.1%.

"We expected tech earnings to come in strong and they comfortably cleared the high bar which is extremely impressive. But also, it is another sign just how quickly this economy continues to roar back," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

"We are going to continue to watch any other Fed discussion or any inflation data closely. Because many companies are talking about higher pressure on prices and that could turn into higher prices to consumers."

Data showed the U.S. economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, fueled by massive government aid to households and businesses, while a Labor Market report showed 553,000 people filed for state unemployment benefits during the week ended April 24, compared to 566,000 in the prior period. earnings reports from Dow components rolled in, with Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT ) CAT.N rising 1.2% after the heavy equipment maker reported a rise in adjusted first-quarter profit. Drugmaker Merck (NS: PROR ) & Co Inc MRK.N , however, slid 1.8% on posting a 1.2% fall in quarterly profit. shares extended gains after the Federal Reserve said it was too early to consider rolling back emergency support for the economy, and U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus package. the conclusion of the U.S. central bank's latest policy meeting on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the economy's growth, but said there was not yet enough evidence of "substantial further progress" toward recovery to warrant a change in policy. 8:27 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 147 points, or 0.44%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 29.5 points, or 0.71%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 142.25 points, or 1.02%.

Shares of electric vehicles companies, including Tesla Inc TSLA.O , Nikola Corp NKLA.O , rose 0.8% and 2.3%, respectively, as sales picked up speed in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency. Inc AMZN.O , Twitter Inc TWTR.K and Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O are also expected to report first-quarter earnings later in the day.

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