Stocks were set to open slightly higher on Thursday as quarterly results, including a brighter outlook and a forecast-beating profit from 3M Co
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. government data showed claims for jobless benefits rose in the previous week roughly in line with expectations, while continuing claims edged lower.
The (claims) number rose, but it's well within the band of expectations. It's a bit of a dampener, but it's not enough to halt the upward movement in the equity markets, said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The momentum is coming on earnings, which are solidly better than expected across many sectors.
S&P 500 futures were up 2.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 15
points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.0 points.
The recent batch of corporate results has lifted stocks, with the Nasdaq closing on Wednesday at an 11-day winning streak, its longest such run since 1996.
3M shares rose 2.8 percent to $66.45 in premarket trade after the diversified manufacturer handily beat Wall Street's profit expectations and lifted its revenue outlook for 2009.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
Shares of eBay Inc
On the downside, shares of United Parcel Service Inc
Shares of Moody's Corp
Later on Thursday, other bellwethers, including Microsoft Corp
On the data front, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to post existing home sales for June at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), with a forecast of 4.84 million annualized unit total versus 4.77 million annualized units in May.
(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)