US Markets

Wall Street seen higher on earnings, durable goods numbers


U.S. stock index futures pushed higher on Thursday, supported by strong earnings and a durable goods number that was better than expectations.

Durable goods orders rose 2.6 percent in March, ahead of a 2% estimate. Apple's blowout results Wednesday night also contributed.

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"Apple clearly proved it is still the industry leader and still has many products under its sleeves which are going to keep the earnings arena full with surprises," said Naeem Aslam of Ava Trade in a research note on Thursday.

"The company's announcement for buying back $90 billion of shares was a smart move given the cash it has on its balance sheet, and a further announcement of stock split of seven-to-one, is going to bring a broad base of shareholders."

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In addition, Facebook reported earnings that topped expectations.

Companies posting first-quarter earnings before Wall Street opens on Thursday included Dow-listed Caterpillar, 3M and Verizon Communications.

Caterpillar surprised with stronger-than-expected earnings and raised its full-year outlook on a better-than-expected rebound in sales to the construction industry. 3M and United Parcel Service both missed analysts' estimates, however, with UPS .

Other companies reporting early on Thursday are Eli Lilly, General Motors, American Airlines, Delphi Automotive, Raytheon, Time Warner Cable and United Continental. Eli Lilly's results will also be of particular interest after the news earlier this week that it is buying Novartis' animal health division for $5.4 billion.

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Starbucks, Visa and Baidu will report after the end of trade on Thursday.

Outside of the corporate space, there will be weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. There will also be durable goods data for March.