Stocks are pointing to a higher open on Thursday after seeing notable weakness going into the close of the previous session. The upward momentum for the markets comes on the heels of some better than expected earnings news.
Any early strength in the markets is likely to be driven in part by technology stocks, with shares of Apple (AAPL) showing a notable upward move in pre-market trading after the maker of the iPod and the iPhone reported earnings that came in considerably better than analysts had anticipated
After the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple reported net income for the second quarter of $1.33 per share, compared to $1.16 per share for the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the second quarter rose to $8.16 billion from $7.51 billion in the prior year quarter.
Analysts' consensus estimates had called for Apple to earn $1.09 per share on revenue of $7.96 billion for the second quarter.
Additionally, online auctioneer eBay Inc. (EBAY) reported adjusted first quarter earnings of $0.39 per share compared to $0.42 per share in the same period a year-ago. On average, analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $0.34 per share.
However, a slew of other companies have also released their quarterly results, including big-name companies such as UPS (UPS), ConocoPhillips (COP), and Yum Brands (YUM).
On the economic front, first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased roughly in line with economist estimates in the week ended April 18th, according to a report released by the Labor Department, with the report also showing another record number of continuing claims.
The report showed that initial jobless claims rose to 640,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 613,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 639,000 from the 610,000 originally reported for the previous week.
At the same time, the Labor Department said that continuing claims in the week ended April 11th rose to a record high of 6.137 million from the preceding week's revised level of 6.044 million.
The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of March at 10 AM ET. Economists expect existing home sales to slip to a 4.65 million unit rate from a 4.72 million unit rate in February.
Stocks experienced considerable volatility over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, with the major averages unable to sustain any significant moves. The choppy trading came as investors continued to digest mixed earnings news.
After seeing initial weakness, the major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line over the course of the trading day, eventually ending the session mixed. While the Dow and the S&P closed notably lower, the tech-heavy Nasdaq held onto a modest gain.
Crude oil futures are rising $0.66 to $49.51 a barrel after advancing $0.30 to $48.85 a barrel in Wednesday's session. Meanwhile, gold futures are edging up $0.40 to $892.90 an ounce. In the previous session, the previous metal rose $9.80 to $892.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.37 yen, up from 98.025 yen at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. The greenback is currently valued at $1.303 versus the euro.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly higher on Thursday after ending the previous session mixed. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index showed a strong upward move, closing up 1.4 percent.
The major European markets are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both currently up 0.9 percent, while the German DAX Index is posting a 0.4 percent loss.
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