Stock futures pointed to a stronger start for Wall Street on Thursday, adding to gains in the previous session after a pledge by the Federal Reserve to keep rates low, with investors expected to focus on further corporate earnings.
Quarterly earning from oil majors Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips will be in focus, with analysts expecting the firms to post earnings per share of $1.41 and $1.38 respectively, up from $0.92 and $0.52 a year ago on a steady rise in oil prices over the period.
Other companies reporting include Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Motorola, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Time Warner Cable among others.
Technology stocks are expected to be in focus, after Hewlett-Packard Co announced a $1.2 billion deal to buy Palm Inc , betting it can resuscitate the struggling smartphone maker to compete with the likes of Apple Inc and RIM.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard slipped 1 percent to $52.75 after the bell on Wednesday. Shares of Palm jumped 27 percent to $5.88 in extended trade.
Shares of Illumina Inc jumped 9.6 percent to $41.25 in extended trade on Wednesday after the company reported quarterly results.
Shares of Visa Inc fell 1.3 percent to $92.40 in extended trade on Wednesday after the company reported quarterly results.
Baidu Inc shares rose 12.6 percent to $699.97 after the bell on Wednesday as the company posted quarterly results.
U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve pointed to signs of strength in the economy, comments that gave some relief to investors worried about possible debt defaults in Europe.
Investors are expected to closely watch details on financial regulation after President Barack Obama welcomed a Senate vote on Wednesday opening the way to debate on a Wall Street regulatory overhaul and said he hoped it would lead to swift passage of a reform bill.
Macroeconomic data set for release include weekly jobless claims and U.S. national activity index for March at 1230 GMT, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City manufacturing index for April at 1500 GMT.
In Europe the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares was up 0.6 percent at 1,063.42 points by 0833 GMT.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 53.28 points, or 0.48 percent, to 11,045.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 7.65 points, or 0.65 percent, to 1,191.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 0.26 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,471.73.
(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal; Editing by Mike Nesbit)