Futures Push Higher on Earnings Beats

Stocks look set for a rebound from the previous session's sharp declines Thursday, with stock index futures rising and European markets higher.

Futures largely shrugged off news that weekly jobless claims dropped slightly to 442,000, shedding a few points on the Dow but still positive.

Solid company performance helped set the tone early on, with Best Buy shares surging more than 8 percent after the company smashed fourth-quarter earnings expectations though ConAgra fell after matching estimates.

The only major economic indicator on the schedule is the Labor Department's weekly report on initial jobless claims. Economists look for first-time claims for benefits to drop to 450,000 from last week's 457,000. The report is out at 8:30 am New York time.

Other events on the economic calendar include the EIA's weekly report on natural gas inventories at 10:30 am, and the Treasury's $32 billion sale of 7-year Notes, with the results available shortly after 1 pm.

Database software giant Oracle is among the companies scheduled to report after the closing bell.


Positive comments about the soup business from Campbell Soup CEO Douglas Conant could make Campbell a stock to watch. Conant told the Wall Street Journal soup sales are picking up thanks to the company's promotional efforts. MGM is also a stock to watch, as the Journal reported that debt holders may delay the sale of the movie studio because they are unhappy with the size of the bids received so far.

Google and its China controversy are in the news once again, with the Financial Times reporting that China Unicom will remove Google's search function from new handsets.

The Federal Reserve's extraordinary policy measures will be the focus of a House Financial Services Committee hearing today, with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke among those testifying.

Investors will also be watching events overseas, with European Union leaders divided on Greek aid ahead of a summit to be held in Brussels.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.