RTTNews - U.S. stocks are set for a higher opening Thursday morning, after pausing in the previous session, on increasing optimism about the prospects of recovery later in the year. Positive earnings from companies despite lackluster revenues have increased hopes. The customary weekly jobless claims report as well as a report on existing home sales for June are on tap in addition to slew of earnings results from companies, including the bellwether Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

As of 6.15 am ET, the Dow Futures were up 28.00 points, and the S&P Futures were up 3.20 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures were 5.25 points.

Low volume, which is characteristic of summer trading, was visible for much of Wednesday's session, as traders digested earnings results from companies, including Apple (AAPL), Yahoo! (YHOO), Pfizer (PFE) Boeing (BA), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC), and PepsiCo (PEP).

Housing, technology, electronic storage, semiconductor, trucking and brokerage stocks rallied, while oil service and airline stocks ended in negative territory.

While the Nasdaq eked out a gain of 10.18 points or 0.5%, finishing at 1,926, the Dow fell by 34.68 points or 0.4% to 8,881 and the S&P 500 slipped by 0.51 points or 0.1% to close at 954.

On economic front, the customary weekly jobless claims report for the week ended July 18th will be released by the Labor Department at 8.30 am ET. The numbers are likely to be closely watched, given the fact that the weekly claims remained below the 600,000 mark for three consecutive weeks, although reflecting the impact of a truncated week and early shutdown of plants by automakers following the bankruptcy filing by General Motors and Chrysler.

The existing home sales report for June is scheduled to be released by the National Association of Realtors at 10 am ET. Economists estimate existing home sales of 4.80 million for the month.

Swiss financial services company Credit Suisse Group reported a 29% increase in its second-quarter profit, despite charges, driven by revenue growth mainly in its Investment Banking business.

The major companies slated to release the results before the opening bell include AT&T (T), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), CIT Group (CIT), Danaher (DHR), Fifth Third Bancorp (FTB), Ford Motor Co (F), JetBlue Airways (JBLU), L-3 Communications (LLL), McDonald's Corporation (MCD), Philip Morris International (PM), Raytheon (RTN), The New York Times Company (NYT), United Parcel Service (UPS) and Wyeth (WYE).

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), 3M Company (MMM), American Express Company (AXP), Amazon (AMZN), Broadcom (BRCM) and Chubb Corporation (CB) are some of the major companies slated to release the results after the markets close for trading.

Wednesday after the markets closed, Infrastructure software provider Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) reported a 23% increase in profit for the second quarter from the year-ago period, helped by higher operating margins that helped offset flat revenue.

Online brokerage firm E*TRADE Financial Corp. (ETFC) reported a wider loss in the second quarter on charge-offs and higher loan loss provisions. Revenue, however, rose from last year boosted by online brokerage business.

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. (EBAY) said that its second quarter profit fell 29% from last year, as a stronger dollar and weakness in its core marketplace business more than offset growth at PayPal and Skype.

Swiss eye care products company Alcon Inc. (ACL) reported an increase in second quarter profit that breezed ahead of estimate, driven by a sharp decline in expenses effected by cost saving initiatives.

Digital Wireless Telecommunications products and services provider Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) reported a modest decline in its second quarter profit, hurt mainly by charges related to a settlement and patent agreement with Broadcom.

Flash memory card maker SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) reported a profit for the second quarter, helped by increased pricing and higher royalty revenue. Looking ahead, the company said it remains cautiously optimistic about the second half of 2009.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery is currently trading at $65.26, down $0.14 from its previous close in New York at $65.40 on Wednesday.

The Dollar is weakening against the Euro and the pound, and gaining against the Japanese yen following the return of risk appetite in the market.

The European markets are trading in negative territory on profit taking after seven days of rally. The CAC-40 Index in France is down 0.48%, the DAX Index in Germany is losing 0.10% and the FTSE Index in the UK is losing 0.17%.

In the economic news, the European Central Bank revealed that Eurozone recorded a seasonally and working day adjusted current account deficit of EUR 1.2 billion in May, narrowing from a deficit of EUR6.1 billion in April, revised from a EUR 5.9 billion deficit reported initially. The Office for National Statistics showed that UK retail sales grew 1.2% month-on-month in June, exceeding economists' expectations for a 0.3% increase. The latest report showed that the 0.6% slump initially recorded for May was downwardly revised to a 0.9% decline.

The Asian markets ended trading in positive territory on increasing optimism about recovery later in the year following better than expected earnings results from companies.

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