S&P 500 futures were up 0.4%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 0.14%, and Nasdaq futures added 0.19%.
Tesla rose more than 4% in premarket trading after reporting a surprise profit in its third quarter. The electronic automaker earned an adjusted 71 cents a share, far better than an expected net loss of 54 cents. Tesla hadn't reported a quarterly net profit in more than three years. Revenue surged 145% to $2.3 billion and topped estimates by $100 million. Tesla's adjusted gross margins also improved to 25% from 23.6% in the second quarter and full-year gross margins are expected to increase by 2 to 3 percentage points.
Twitter jumped 4% after besting quarterly estimates and detailing plans to cut 9% of its workforce. The Jack Dorsey-led company reported adjusted earnings of 13 cents a share on revenue of $616 million. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of 9 cents a share on $606 million in revenue. Twitter has been in the crosshairs since a round of acquisition offers from Salesforce.com and Walt Disney fell apart earlier this month.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 3,000 to 258,000 in the past week, according to the Department of Labor. Analysts had expected a decline of 255,000. The less-volatile, four-week average rose 1,000 to 253,000.
U.S. durable goods orders dropped 0.1% in September. Analysts had expected orders to rise 0.2%. Of particular concern, new orders for capital goods made in the U.S. dropped unexpectedly in September as demand for computers and other electronics weakened. Capital goods orders fell 1.2% last month, according to the Commerce Department, after three months of gains. Capital goods orders are used as an indicator of future business spending.
In other earnings news, Ford (F) - Get Report moved 1% lower in premarket trading after a recent safety recall drove profits sharply lower. Third-quarter net income fell 56% from a year earlier, though operating profit of 26 cents a share beat analysts' forecasts by 6 cents. Profits were reduced by $600 million in expenses related to a door-latch recall. Overall revenue fell 6%, dragged down by by weaker sales in the core U.S. market.
Dow Chemical (DOW) - Get Report increased nearly 3% before the bell after a better-than-expected third quarter. The chemicals company earned an adjusted 91 cents a share, breezing past estimates of 79 cents. Sales rose to $12.48 billion, above consensus of $11.93 billion.
Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report finally reached a deal to buy NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) - Get Report after protracted negotiations. The chipmaker will purchase NXP for $110 a share in cash, or $47 billion. The deal represents an 11% premium to NXP's Wednesday close. Qualcomm anticipates synergies of $500 million after the deal closes. NXP shares jumped nearly 3% in premarket trading.
NXP has been a holding in Action Alerts PLUS since the beginning of this year and it's the trust's No. 1 ranked stock within its value index. AAP has held a "Buy" (One) rating and $110 price target since initiation.
"We are excited to see the formerly under-the-radar company acquired for $110 in cash, 38% above our cost basis, validating the company's leadership across autos and ability to deliver products which provide the elusive ability to offer connectivity and security," said Jack Mohr, research director for Action Alerts PLUS.
Crude oil prices crept higher on Thursday, coming back from a three-week low reached a day earlier. Prices fell on Wednesday as hopes of a production freeze agreement among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries faded. Iraq, the second largest producer in the bloc, has expressed reluctance to join in on a deal. OPEC members are set to meet in Vienna at the end of November.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.3% to $49.33 a barrel on Thursday morning.