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.
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.
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
But on the downside, economic bellwether United Parcel Service Inc
PNC Financial Services Group
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
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
The Dow and S&P fell Wednesday after Morgan Stanley
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)