US Markets

Wall Street jittery amid earnings rush; tech in focus

Investors face busiest earnings day yet

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open Thursday, with Wall Street jittery ahead of earnings from some industrial heavy weights and major tech firms.

Major companies reporting before the bell include 3M, Caterpillar, General Motors, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Hershey, United Continental, Domino's Pizza and Dunkin Brands.

Caterpillar surged nearly 5 percent ahead of the bell after posting first-quarter profit of $1.86 a share, well-above the estimated $1.35. The company also reported revenue of $12.7 billion, beating Wall Street's forecast of $12.38 billion.

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3M fell more than 2 percent before the open after the company reported first-quarter earnings of $1.85 a share and revenue of $7.57 billion, both short of analysts' expectations. The company said its earnings were impacted by by a strong U.S. dollar, and it now expects full-year profit of between $7.80 and $8.10 per share, down from between $8 and $8.30.

General Motors dropped more than 3 percent in premarket trading after the company delivered quarterly profit and revenue that missed expectations. Weaker volume in Brazil and Russia hurt sales, as well as the impact of weakening currencies in South America due to the strong U.S. dollar.

PepsiCo delivered quarterly profits of 83 cents per share, besting Wall Street forecasts. The soft drink giant also posted revenue of $12.22 billion, slightly higher than analysts' expectations of $12.21 billion.

Procter & Gamble posted adjusted earnings per share of 92 cents, in line with analysts' expectations. Nevertheless, the Dow Jones component reported revenue of $18.14 billion, short of estimates. The company cited currency headwinds as a key contributor to the revenue miss.

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After the market close,, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, Capital One are all due.

Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, and Coca-Cola CEO, Muhtar Kent, will be live on CNBC Thursday to discuss the results.

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Attention will also be on new home sales data for March, due at 10.00 a.m. ET, which looks likely to register a marked drop of around 5 percent month-on-month, following a 7.8 percent month-on-month jump in February that brought sales to a near-seven-year high of 539,000, according to Robert Kuenzel at Daiwa Capital Markets.

Weekly jobless claims showed an increase of 1,000 to 295,000.

The April installments of the Kansas City Fed's manufacturing index and manufacturing PMI are also due Thursday.

Weakness in Europe could also weigh, after fresh data showed that business activity growth in the euro zone slowed in April, putting pressure on the region's stocks.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on Thursday, a day ahead of a crucial meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Latvia.

CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.