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Current Futures: Dow +102.00, S&P +8.50, NASDAQ +17.25

Equity markets lacked a general direction on Thursday, but moved somewhere higher during the second part of the trading session, as investors are waiting for the earnings results of Google and IBM, scheduled after the closing bell. Both companies are among the biggest stocks in the S&P 500 by market cap, IBM being the sixth largest, while Google being the eighth biggest. Interestingly enough, both companies have a long streak of beating analysts’ quarterly projections, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team said. Over the last three years, IBM beat estimates 11 out of the 12 times, while Google has beaten it 9 times. Statistically speaking (at least) investors are expecting good results from the two, something that could push forward the U.S. markets.

In the mean time, Harley-Davidson surged 7.5% today, being the second best performer in the S&P 500, even thought the company reported worse than expected results in Q2, but announced a drastic restructure plan. Also on Thursday, JP Morgan reported much better than expected earnings throughout the second quarter, beating analysts’ estimates by almost six times. JP Morgan reported earnings of 28 cents per share, while the market had been expecting 5 cents per share.

If the big Wall Street banks are in a good shape, or at least their quarterly earnings suggest so, the smaller banks are not doing very well. CIT Group, a mid-size U.S. bank, is heading towards bankruptcy, sources said on Thursday. The bank’s shares are currently trading at $0.40, down 75% today. At its peak, touched during the summer months of 2007, CIT shares where trading at $80.

The Dow Jones Index gained 67.12 points (0.78%) to 8,683.33, while the S&P 500 index gained 6.17 points (0.66%) to 938.85.

Crude oil for August delivery was recently trading at $62.00 per barrel, up by $0.50.

Gold for August delivery was recently trading lower by $2.60 to $935.20.

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