NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures climbed after weekly initial jobless claims hit their lowest level since April 2000, and as Wall Street returned its focus to a wave of earnings Thursday.
Stocks sold off in the final hour of trading on Wednesday after oil prices bottomed out near six-year lows.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.2%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 0.18%, and Nasdaq futures added 0.1%.
The number of initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24. Economists had expected jobless claims of 300,000.
Giving the Dow a boost was McDonald's (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Report , which jumped more than 2% after announcing that CEO Don Thompson would be leaving the company. Thompson will be replaced by chief global brand officer Steve Easterbrook. Thompson had been in charge since July 2012 during some of the fast food chain's worst years of draining sales and weak profits.
Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report shares were inching higher after quarterly profit surged to 54 cents a share from 31 cents last year. Gains were limited, though, after management said it planned for heavy investment in growth over 2015.
Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get QUALCOMM Incorporated Report beat earnings estimates, but cut its profit outlook on increased competition in China. The chipmaker said it expects earnings as high as $5.05 a share over the full year, below estimates of $5.21.
Coach (COH) shares were up more than 6% as comparable sales in the U.S. fell at a slower-than-expected pace. Second-quarter income of 72 cents a share beat estimates, though revenue dropped 14%.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) tumbled 2.5% before the bell despite nearly doubling fourth-quarter profit to $4.2 billion. The oiler said it plans to slash capital expenditures and other spending by $15 billion over the next three years in response to plunging oil prices.
Crude oil prices slipped on Wednesday as U.S. inventories increased 8.9 million barrels over the week, nearly double estimates of 4.6 million barrels. Early Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude edged 0.11% higher to $44.50 a barrel.
Pressuring prices a day earlier, Goldman Sachs warned that commodities will lag equities and bonds over the next three months. The bank slashed its outlook on raw materials to "underweight," with expectations of a 10% loss compared to a 0.4% gain for stocks.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.