US stocks modestly rose in early trade on Thursday, following weaker-than-expected reports on initial jobless claims, durable goods orders and mixed corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 Index gained 1.32 points, or 0.10 percent, to trade at 1,297.95 at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 9.69 points, or 0.08 percent, to trade at 11,995.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.39 percent.
The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims jumped by 51,000 to 454,000 for the week ended January 22 from the previous week's revised figure of 403,000, while economists expected 408,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims increased 15,750 to 428,000 from the previous week's revised average of 413,000.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in December fell by 2.5 percent on weaker demand for airplanes, vehicles, and computers, machinery, while economists expected against 1.3 percent gain. Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.5 percent.
On the corporate front, shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) gained 0.55 percent after the company said its fourth quarter profit quadrupled as sales soared 62 percent driven by substantial increase in product demand, and it guided 2011 earnings above analysts’ expectations.
Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) shares declined 2.92 percent as its second quarter profit declined 28 percent to $3.33 billion, or $1.11 a share. Excluding charges and discontinued operations, earnings came in at $1.13 per share, as revenue climbed 1.5% to $21.35 billion.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares gained 0.14 percent ahead of its second quarter earnings after the closing bell. Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report second quarter earnings per share of $0.68 from $0.74 last year.
The euro advanced 0.12 percent to 1.3730 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.81 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures declined 0.25 percent to $87.11/barrel and gold futures rose 0.08 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading in higher with FTSE 100 up by 14.71 points, DAX30 up by 29.08 points and CAC 40 up by 11.39 points.