US Markets

US stock futures mixed as investors mull data, earnings


U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors considered a slew of economic data and first-quarter results from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and MasterCard, among others.

Economic data had personal income up 0.5 percent and personal spending up 0.9 percent in March, while initial jobless claims jobless claims rose by 14,000 to 344,000 last week.

Other companies posting earnings before Wall Street opens include Kellogg, Viacom and T-Mobile US. The latter will be of particular interest after media reports late on Wednesday that Spring Corp was pushing ahead with its bid for the wireless company.

Another company to watch is Merck, on reports that it is mulling a $15 billion drugs portfolio sale, on top of the already-announced sale of its $14 billion consumer health care unit.

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Plus, the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T had approached DirecTV about a possible acquisition in a deal which could be worth over $40 billion.

Early trade in Asia and Europe was boosted by the Dow Jones Industrial Average's record close on Wednesday. This came after the Federal Reserve reduced its monthly bond-buying program by another $10 billion to $45 billion a month, its fourth cut in a row.

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The Fed also indicated that economic growth was accelerating, even as official data showed that first-quarter gross domestic product inched up just 0.1 percent from the previous quarter, a full percentage point below expectations.

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Attention now turns to the release of Friday's non-farm payrolls report. Reuters is predicting a 200,000 gain in April jobs, which would be a modest improvement from March's 192,000.