Market Hustle: Stock Futures Turn Higher as Market Cheers Jobless Claims; Pepsi Advances

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were turning higher Thursday after a better-than-expected initial jobless claims report and some relatively upbeat corporate earnings results.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 21 points, or 0.85 points below fair value, to 16,352, S&P 500 futures were up 3.5 points, or 0.44 points above fair value, to 1,856.25, and Nasdaq futures were higher by 13 points, or 9.79 points below fair value, to 3,514.5.
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) was gaining 1.67% after posting a 10% fall in first-quarter net income, but earnings of $4.02 a share beat estimates of $3.45. PepsiCo (PEP) was advancing more than 2% after booking quarterly earnings per share of 83 cents, topping expectations of 75 cents. General Electric (GE) shares were up 2.03% as first-quarter earnings fell amid a decline in revenue. Operating earnings per share were 33 cents a share; analysts were expecting 32 cents.
  • Jobless claims in the week ended April 12 increased by 2,000 to a lower-than-expected 304,000 vs. the average economist's estimate of 315,000. The four-week moving average fell 4,750 to 312,000, the lowest level for this average since Oct. 6, 2007. The report falls in the survey week of the monthly government job report, and as a whole looks like it could bode well for the employment situation report for April.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Index for April will be issued at 10 a.m. EDT.
  • Friday will be a market holiday in observance of Good Friday.
  • International markets were mostly higher. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.28% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished flat. The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.32% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.45% as officials from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union meet for talks in Geneva Thursday.
  • Major U.S. stock markets jumped Wednesday after better-than-expected Chinese growth while investors digested dovish remarks from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and an improved Beige Book report. Domestic economic data was mixed.
  • Google (GOOG) shares were down 1.73% in premarket trading after the Internet search giant posted first-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations. IBM (IBM) was off 4.32% after reporting lower first-quarter net income and a slide in revenue.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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