Updated from 7:38 a.m.
Stock futures climbed on Thursday, looking to reverse part of recent days' declines, after a drop in jobless claims and a series of positive earnings from retail companies.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.22%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.28%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.29%.
Jobless claims dipped over the past week, remaining below the 300,000 level for their 75th straight week, a record not seen in more than four decades. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 to 266,000 in the week ended August 6, according to the Labor Department. Economists expected claims to fall to 265,000. The less-volatile four-week average increased by 3,000 to 262,750.
Import prices increased 0.1% in July, while export prices rose 0.2%, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The increase in import prices marks its fifth month in a row, while export prices rose for their fourth straight month.
Alibaba (BABA) climbed nearly 4% in premarket trading, setting up for its best levels in 14 months, after topping sales and profit estimates over the recent quarter. Adjusted earnings of 74 cents a share came in 12 cents above consensus. Revenue increased 59% to $4.84 billion, exceeding estimates of $4.56 billion. Mobile users helped to drive growth with the number of monthly active users on a cell device jumping 39% to 427 million.
Kohl's (KSS) bounded 7% higher after topping estimates in its recent quarter, though the retailer did cut its full-year earnings guidance. Adjusted earnings of $1.22 a share beat forecasts by 19 cents a share, while revenue of $4.18 billion bested estimates of $4.16 billion. Same-store sales declined 1.8%, though met expectations. Kohl's reduced its full-year adjusted profit range to $3.80 to $4 a share, down from its previous range of $4.05 to $4.25. The new guidance remained in line with analysts' consensus of $3.84.
Macy's (M) popped before the bell after detailing plans to cut 15% of its locations, or 100 of its stores, as the retailer faces falling revenue. The company previously announced it would close 40 locations this year. Same-store sales over the second quarter fell 2%, more than half the decline analysts expected. The second quarter saw Macy's sixth straight three-month period of sales in decline.
Shake Shack (SHAK) plunged 7% on Thursday morning on worries over slower growth. Same-store sales, which measure sales at locations open at least 12 months, rose 4.5% in its second quarter, slightly weaker than an estimated 4.8% increase and a fraction of 12.9% growth in the year-ago quarter. The burger chain did manage to exceed estimates for profit and sales over the quarter.
Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) was on watch after a mixed fourth quarter. The cosmetics company reported a net loss of 58 cents a share, 20 cents narrower than expected. Revenue climbed 2.1% to $192.65 million but came in just shy of expectations by $1.1 million.
More than 90% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings in what has been another quarter of declining earnings, though less steep than anticipated. Expectations had been conservative heading into the season, with many expecting the headwinds of a stronger U.S. dollar, weaker global growth, a prolonged period of low oil prices, and soft manufacturing activity to continue to impact the top and bottom lines of S&P 500 companies.
Of those S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 70% have exceeded analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.