NEW YORK -- Stock futures edged higher Thursday with some positive numbers coming out of the manufacturing sector and potentially more evidence of an improving jobs picture.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 61 points to 13,082. The broader S&P futures tacked on 7.3 points to 1,412.60. Nasdaq futures gained 16.75 points to 2,667.25.
The report from the Commerce Department on orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods shows a surge in September, the largest in nearly three years.
Orders for durable goods leapt 9.9 a percent after a 13.1 percent decline in the previous month. However, orders for core capital goods, considered a good proxy for business investment, were unchanged.
Also on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, which would signal modest hiring. Anything below 375,000 can lower the unemployment rate.
In September, unemployment dipped to 7.8 percent. That is the lowest level since January 2009.
Earnings reports continued to arrive Thursday and the results were mixed.
Colgate-Palmolive will cut more than 2,310 workers, or 6 percent of its workforce, by the end of 2016 in a push to make the consumer products company more efficient. But the company topped Wall Street expectations for profit in the third quarter.
Profits at United Airlines declined with fewer people flying. Even removing a one-time charge related to a new agreement with pilots, the company fell well short of Wall Street expectations.
Procter & Gamble says its first quarter net income fell 7 percent, as costs related to a restructuring and the stronger dollar weighed on results.
The homebuilder PulteGroup returned to profitability, posting its biggest third-quarter profit since 2006. That extends a winning streak for the housing sector, which appears to be having a sustained recovery.
After the market closes Thursday, Apple and Amazon.com post quarterly earnings.