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Futures Hold Gains Despite Jobless Rise

CNBC.com
Thursday, 23 Jul 2009 | 8:46 AM ET

Futures indicated a slightly higher open for Wall Street Thursday as investors shrugged off a rise in jobless claims and focused on encouraging earnings from Ford and 3M.

  • Dow 30: After-Hour Quotes
  • Pre-Markets/Futures Data
  • Ford posted a much smaller loss than expected and beat analyst estimates both on the top and bottom lines, sending shares up about 6.5 percent in premarket trading.

    Also, Dow component 3M reported a 17 percent drop in quarterly profit but reduced its loss forecast for the year, sending shares up 3.2 percent premarket.

    In the morning's economic news, jobless claims rose by 30,000to 554,000, snapping a four-week streak of declines. It was slightly higher than the 522,000 economists had expected but the total number remained below 600,000, which was encouraging.

    Still to come, June existing-home sales are due out at 10 am. Economists expect sales to see that sales rose 0.6 percent.

    This comes after the Dow snapped a seven-session winning streakWednesday after disappointing results from Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

    Techs faltered Thursday, putting the Nasdaq's streak in jeopardy. The tech-heavy index has risen for 11 straight sessions, its longest such streak since 1996.

    Qualcomm shares fell nearly 4.5 percent premarket after the companyraised its revenue target but reported a profit decline in an after-the-bell report Wednesday. SanDisk exceeded estimates with its latest earnings but saw its shares drop 6.3 percent premarket after its outlook disappointed the market.

    On a more positive note, eBaywas a bright light for the index as it beat forecasts, sending its shares higher by 7.2 percent.

    AT&T shares also picked up, gaining 4 percent after reporting a profit drop of 15 percent that beat analyst estimates. Elsewhere in earnings, McDonald's shares fell 2 percent premarket while UPS slipped 0.6 percent, even as both companies appeared to be at or above estimates.

    In M&A activity, Amazon.com has agreed to buy Zappos.com in a stock deal valued at about $807 million. Zappos sells mostly footwear but also offers some apparel. Amazon shares rose premarket.

    And drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying biotech company Medarex for $2.4 billion in cash, a 90% premium over yesterday's closing price.

    Thursday is an extremely heavy day for quarterly reports, in the midst of a week that will see one third of the S&P 500 and almost half the Dow companies issue earnings.

    Among those out before the bell today: Bristol-Myers Squibb, CME Group, EMCFifth Third, Goodrich, Huntington Bancshares, Starwood, Hershey, Kimberly-Clark, U.S. Airways, NCR, Northrop Grumman, Nucor, New York Times, Occidental Petroleum, Philip Morris, PNC Bank, Ryder, Reynolds American, Safeway, Temple-Inland, Union Pacific, UPS, Xerox, and Zimmer Holdings.

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    But wait, there's more: after the bell, reports will come from Ameriprise Financial, Amazon.com, American Express, Burlington Northern, Broadcom, CA, Cheesecake Factory, Chubb, Compuware, Eastman Chemical, Juniper Networks, KLA-Tencor, Microsoft, and Netflix.

    — Peter Schacknow, CNBC Senior Producer, contributed to this report

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