Stock futures were sharply higher on Thursday, Nov. 16, as positive earnings from Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT - Get Report) and Cisco Systems Inc.  (CSCO - Get Report) gave their shares a premarket boost. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 75 points, S&P 500 futures increased 10 points, and Nasdaq futures rose 30 points. 

Walmart rocketed higher, setting itself up to open at records, after reporting its ninth consecutive quarterly earnings beat. Revenue surged 4.2% to $123.2 billion over the quarter, higher than consensus of $121 billion. Adjusted earnings of $1 a share beat by 3 cents. 

U.S. same-store sales rose 2.7%, while same-store traffic increased 1.5%. U.S. e-commerce sales, an area of focus for the company, grew 50%.

Cisco was on track to open at around $36.64 a share on Thursday in what would be its highest level since February 2001. The stock was on a tear after the networking giant posted stronger-than-expected earnings in first fiscal first quarter and said revenue will likely snap a long streak of declines as customers spend more on products such as security solutions.

Earnings of 61 cents a share beat out analysts by a penny. Cisco said revenue in its first quarter was led by its "security" sales, which rose 8%, and that it closed its purchased of privately held network forensics security applications provider Observable Networks Inc. The company anticipates second-quarter sales growth of 1% to 2% and adjusted earnings of 58 cents to 60 cents a share. 

Viacom Inc. (VIAB - Get Report) was also higher on Thursday even after a weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter. U.S. revenue from its key Media Networks business declined, with the group losing subscribers to its MTV and Comedy Central cable networks.

Adjusted earnings of 77 cents a share were up 12% from the same period last year but shy of the FactSet consensus forecast of 86 cents. Revenue was largely in-line with estimates at $3.319 billion, Viacom said, up 3% from last year and taking the full fiscal year tally to $13.263 billion.

Best Buy Co.  (BBY - Get Report)  fell on Thursday after missing third-quarter sales estimates and issuing a weak forecast. Earnings of 78 cents a share rose from 61 cents a year earlier and matched analysts' estimates. However, revenue of $9.32 billion fell short of $9.36 billion consensus. Domestic same-store sales gained 4.5%, below targets of a 4.9% rise. For its fourth quarter, Best Buy expects sales of $14.2 billion to $14.5 billion, in-line with estimates. Adjusted earnings guidance of $1.89 to $1.99 a share fell short of $2.03 consensus. 

Outside of earnings, Wall Street has its eyes on tax reform as the GOP's plan faces its first big test with a vote in the House. GOP leaders in the House said they were confident they have the votes to pass the bill. The proposed bill will likely pull between 225 and 230 Republican votes, according to estimates from The Hill. The bill needs 218 votes to pass.

However, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin potentially threw up a roadblock to tax overhaul after he became the first Republican senator to say he opposed his party's tax legislation. The Senate is expected to vote on its tax plan early next month.

Initial jobless claims increased to a six-week high in the past week, according to the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to 249,000. The less volatile four-week claims average increased 6,500 to 237,750. 
 
Import price growth slowed in October and came in at half of what analysts expected. Prices rose by 0.2%, driven by increases in the cost of petroleum, though food prices declined. Analysts expected an increase of 0.4% after a 0.8% gain in September. 
 
The conomic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday also includes industrial production for October at 9:15 a.m. ET.

Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report)  rose in premarket trading after activist investor Nelson Peltz claimed victory in his battle to win a seat on the company's board, though its leaders vowed to review the results of a shareholder vote.

Preliminary results issued last month by P&G showed that Peltz had just under 50% of the vote, or roughly 49.8%. Final result tabulations by IVS Associates Inc., P&G's inspector of elections, however, showed that Peltz narrowly won. 

RH (RH - Get Report) surged nearly 20% after upping its third-quarter and full-year guidance, crediting its "dramatically more efficient" operations. The company anticipated third-quarter net revenue to rise by 8% and for adjusted earnings of $1.02 to $1.04 a share, up from its previous range of 68 cents to 80 cents. For the full year, the home goods company anticipates net income of $82 million to $87 million, above a previous range of $70 million to $77 million. 

Updated from 8:03 a.m. ET, Nov. 16. 

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