Wall Street was set for a higher open on Thursday after positive results from companies like Apple Inc and Hershey Co suggested some businesses weathered the deep recession in the first quarter.

Apple was set to boost technology shares after it posted results after Wednesday's close that topped expectations on strong sales of its popular iPhones and iPods. The stock was up 4.6 percent to $127.15 in early electronic trading.

Raytheon Co also boosted sentiment after the maker of Patriot missile defense systems and other military electronics reported higher profit and boosted its full-year sales forecast, sending its shares up 6.8 percent at $44.10 before the bell. Investors are keen to see guidance from companies to get a sense of the depth and longevity of the downturn.

But recessionary pressures remained as data showed the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose slightly more than expected to a seasonally adjusted 640,000 in the week ended April 18, and continued claims saw another record high. S&P futures briefly trimmed gains after the report.

Data on March existing home sales is also expected later in the morning.

EBay Inc could also boost the tech sector after it beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue late Wednesday on cost cuts and growth at its Skype telephone and PayPal payments divisions. EBay jumped 6.4 percent at $15.75.

There's only been small patches of positive guidance, mostly on the part of companies who are strong enough to have weathered this current weak demand, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

The Apple news yesterday and some of the other earnings reports in tech were taken as a reasonably positive sign.

S&P 500 futures rose 7.40 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 climbed 45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 22 points.

Among the standouts in the early morning round of results, shares of Hershey rose 3.3 percent to $37.25 after the chocolate maker reported results that beat expectations amid price increases and market share gains.

But on the downside, economic bellwether United Parcel Service Inc reported worse-than-expected results as the global downturn hit revenue and profitability. Shares of the package delivery company were down 2.3 percent at $53.50.

PNC Financial Services Group
posted a rise in profit as it was helped by the acquisition of National City Corp and cost cuts. Its shares rose 5.8 percent to $40.25.

In the auto sector, the U.S. Treasury raised its offer to Chrysler lenders, sources said Wednesday, as the embattled automaker races to cut its debt and labor costs and reach an alliance with Italy's Fiat SpA by the end of the month.

Also, auto dealer representatives will meet with the U.S. government task force faced with retooling the auto industry to make the case that a bankruptcy for General Motors Corp should not be an option.

The Dow and S&P fell Wednesday after Morgan Stanley revived concerns about the banking sector and the wider economy but the Nasdaq managed a gain after AT&T Inc's profit fell less than expected.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)