U.S. stock index futures held their modest gains Thursday, following the previous session's broad selloff, even after weekly jobless claims ticked slightly higher.
Weekly jobless claims gained 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000, according to the Labor Department. A Labor Department analyst said claims for California and Kentucky had been estimated.Economists polled by Reuters expected a reading of 350,000 new claims, up from 346,000 in the previous week.
Also on the economic front, the Philadelphia Fed survey will be reported at 10 am ET. Analysts in a Reuters poll forecast new orders will rise in April to give a reading of 3.0, up from 2.0 in March. And the Conference Board will also release its leading economic indicators index for March at the same time. Economists forecast a gain of 0.1 percent, against an increase of 0.5 percent in February.
Stocks yo-yoed this week, with all three major benchmark indexes suffering their sharpest one-day drop of the year on Monday, before recovering most of those losses on Tuesday. However, after Wednesday's steep declines, stocks are on track for their worst weekly loss of the year.
Earnings again were a mixed bag, with surging big-bank profits still not enough to quell investor appetite in the financial sector but the news good in most other areas.
Morgan Stanley reported quarterly results that topped expectations, thanks to strong gains in its global wealth management and securities units.
PepsiCo edged higher after the beverage company also posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue. The company also stood by its full-year forecast.
Also, Verizon gained after the telecommunications company topped earnings estimates, but revenue fell slightly below expectations.
Meanwhile, UnitedHealth edged past earnings expectations, but shares declined as the health care company said that a major public-sector customer had switched to a fee-based insurance service from a full-risk plan in the first quarter and lowered its 2013 sales guidance.
In addition, SeaWorld Entertainment will price its IPO (initial public offering) after the closing bell.