U.S. Stock Futures Higher After Two-Day Selloff

Source: thewillnigeria.com

U.S. stock index futures pointed higher on Thursday after two days of losses as investors awaited a raft of earnings results and weekly jobless numbers.

* The number of Americans filing new applications for

unemployment benefits is expected to have slightly declined by

1,000 to 280,000 as the U.S. labor market continues to firm. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* On Wednesday, Wall Street declined as the technology sector fell on disappointing results from giants including Apple (AAPL.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O).

* Corporate earnings will continue to drive the market with a host of big companies scheduled to report on Thursday.

* McDonald’s (MCD.N), Caterpillar (CAT.N) and 3M (MMM.N) are scheduled to report before the bell while Visa (V.N), Amazon (AMZN.O) and AT&T (T.N) are expected after the close.

* While markets remain near record highs, June-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to dip 1.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, less than the 3-percent decline expected at the start of July.

* Of the companies that have reported so far, 70 percent beat earnings expectations, above the 63-percent average beat rate since 1994.

* However, only 55 percent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61-percent average beat rate since 2002.

* SanDisk (SNDK.O) shares jumped 13 percent to $61.24 in premarket trading, a day after the data storage products maker reported a quarterly profit that was double of what analysts had expected.

* Dow component American Express (AXP.N) fell 2.3 percent to $77.15 despite posting a profit that beat expectations as a strong dollar continues to hurt companies with large overseas operations.

* The dollar index .DXY was down 0.5 percent at $97.04 but had touched a four-month high earlier this week.

* Cigna (CI.N) rose 4.6 percent to $158 after reports said U.S. health insurer Anthem (ANTM.N) was close to finalizing negotiations to acquire the company in a deal valued at roughly $48 billion. Anthem was up 3.8 percent at $161.

* Eli Lilly (LLY.N) rose 4.2 percent to $90 after the drugmaker’s revenue rose due to demand for its new cancer and diabetes treatments.

Futures snapshot at 7:01 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 3.75 points, or 0.18 percent, with 74,342 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 12.25 points, or 0.27 percent, on volume of 11,678 contracts.

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 27 points, or 0.15 percent, with 9,310 contracts changing hands.