Stock index futures gained on Thursday morning, boosted by positive earnings figures from the European markets and job data which showed a slight but sustained recovery. Just before markets opened, Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures were up 55 points to 10,503, while S&P 500 futures gained 7.4 points to 1,109.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 10.25 points to 1,880.
The central piece of good news was rather slim – a drop in jobless claims for the week ended July 24, from a revised 468,000 claims to just 457,000. These figures show an improvement, but not one that indicates a real turnaround of any substance.
It was positive enough, however, for traders to look to earnings data rather than economic figures, once again showing that markets do not have enough information to make a sustained push up or down.
Rather, stock index futures are reflecting uncertainty and caution, with small pieces of data triggering quick movements up and down.
Corporate profits proved as resilient as ever though, with U.S. cell-phone manufacturer Motorola beating estimates and European phone companies Telefeonica SA and France Telecom SA leading the charge across the Atlantic.
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