RTTNews - U.S. stocks are set to open higher on Thursday ahead of earnings results after languishing in negative territory in the previous session.

As of 6.30 am ET, the Dow Futures were up 71.00 points, the S&P Futures were up 8.50 points, and the Nasdaq 100 futures were up 12.25 points.

On Wednesday, stocks traded in negative territory throughout the session but rebounded off the lows and closed with moderate losses amid low volume trading as traders digested weak economic numbers and earnings amid anxiety over the likelihood of a near term recovery. A mixed durable goods report and weak demand for Treasury Department's auction for 5-year notes also impacted trader sentiment

On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial decline in orders for manufactured durable goods for the month of June, primarily due to sharp decline in orders for transportation equipment. The report showed that durable goods orders fell 2.5% in June following a downwardly revised 1.3% increase in May. Economists had expected orders to fall 0.6% compared to the 1.8% increase originally reported for the previous month. Excluding a 12.8% decrease in orders for transportation equipment, orders for durable goods actually rose 1.1% in June compared to a 0.8% increase in May. The increase surprised economists, who had expected ex-transportation orders to come in unchanged.

The Treasury Department said its $39.0 billion sale of five-year notes drew a high yield of 2.625%. Demand was much weaker than expected, with the bid-to-cover ratio coming in at 1.92 compared to the 2.58 posted in the previous auction.

Traders largely shrugged off the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report which indicated that economic activity continued to be weak going into the summer, with most of the twelve Fed districts indicating that the pace of decline has moderated or that activity has begun to stabilize.

Traders also digested quarterly results from Time Warner (TWX), Qwest (Q) and ConocoPhillips (COP) that were largely ahead of expectations,

Stocks of Healthcare providers, airlines, brokerages and biotechnology showed strength during the session, while the losers included oil service, steel, natural gas, gold, electronic storage, commercial real estate, internet and housing stocks.

The Dow fell by 26 points or 0.3% to 9,071, the Nasdaq slipped by 7.75 points or 0.4% to 1,968 and the S&P 500 declined by 4.47 points or 0.5% to 975.

Traders will be eyeing the customary weekly jobless claims report for the week ended July 25th, which is due at 8:30 AM ET. Also on the radar would be earnings from major companies including cellphone maker Motorola (MOT) and Exxon Mobil (XOM).

After the markets closed Wednesday, Credit card major Visa Inc. (V) said its third quarter profit soared from last year, helped by lower expenses and one-time gain from the sale of its stake in VisaNet do Brasil. The company's quarterly adjusted earnings came-in above the analysts' expectations, as did its quarterly revenues. The company updated its forecast, reaffirming its long-term guidance 2010.

Non-hazardous solid waste collection and disposal services provider Republic Services, Inc. (RSG) posted a surge in profit for the second quarter compared to the year-ago period, boosted by divestiture gains and a more than two-fold surge in quarterly revenues.

Glass container manufacturer Owens-Illinois, Inc. (OI), reported a decline in the second-quarter profit from last year, primarily due to lower sales as shipments were affected by the continued challenging market conditions.

Auto parts retailer O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. (ORLY) reported a 53% surge in profit for the second quarter from last year, as sales jumped 78% and the company opened additional stores in the quarter.

Cell phone tower operator Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) reported a net loss for the second quarter compared to a profit in the year-ago period, hurt by losses on early redemption of debt as well as unrealized losses on interest rate swaps.

Light sweet crude oil for September delivery is currently trading at $64.19, up $0.84 from its previous close in New York at $63.35 on Wednesday.

The dollar is weakening against the Euro and the Pound, but showing choppy trading against the Japanese yen bouncing between 94.85 and 95.10 compared to previous close at 95.01 yen on Wednesday.

The European markets are trading in positive territory following positive earnings results. The CAC-40 Index in France is gaining 1.08%, the DAX Index in Germany is rising 0.71% and the FTSE Index in the U.K is advancing 1.27%.

The markets across Asia-Pacific region also ended firm in positive territory driven by earnings and optimism about global recovery.

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