US stock futures
pointed to a stronger open on Thursday after Wal-Mart
reported better than expected quarterly results.
At 8:16 am ET, the S&P 500
rose 6.90 points to 1009.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
advanced 61 points to 9380. The Nasdaq Composite
gained 11 points to 1629.75.
According to Department of Commerce
, US retail sales declined 0.1% in July. Economists expected retail sales to rise 0.8%.
A release by Department of Labor
on Thursday showed number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to 558,000 in the week ending August 8. Economists expected jobless claims to drop to 543,000. The four-week average of seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims, a less volatile gauge, increased 8,500 to 565,000. Continuing claims for the week ending August 1 dropped 141,000 to 6.2 million.Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
) on Thursday reported that second-quarter net income totaled $3.44 billion, or 88 cents per share, compared with $3.45 billion, or 87 cents per share, in the prior year period. Revenue slipped 1.4% to $100.08 billion. Same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year, dropped 1.2% during the quarter.
Looking ahead to the third quarter, Wal-Mart
expects earnings per share in the range of 78 cents and 82 cents per share. The retail giant also boosted the low end of its annual profit guidance to a range of $3.50 to $3.60 per share, from $3.45 to $3.60 per share.Kohl's Corp.
) said that its second-quarter net income fell to $229 million, or 75 cents a share, compared to $236 million, or 77 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 2.2% to $3.8 billion.Monsanto Co.
) reaffirmed Thursday that it expects its 2009 profit to come in at the low end of its previous forecast of $4.40 to $4.50 a share.
Late on Wednesday, LDK Solar Co.
) announced Thursday that it swung to a second-quarter loss of $216.9 million, or $2.03 a share, from profit of $149.5 million, or $1.29, in the year-ago period. Revenue declined to $228.3 million from $441.7 million.RealtyTrac Inc.
said Thursday that foreclosure filings rose 7 percent from from June to July. Foreclosure filings were up 32 percent from the same month last year.US stocks
finished with gains on Wednesday as investors cheered Federal Reserve's comment that the economy appears to be "leveling out".European stocks
advanced in afternoon trade. At 13:14 pm London time, the UK FTSE gained 57.34 points or 1.22% to 4,774.10. The German DAX and French CAC increased 1.56% and 1.16% respectively.Asian stocks
finished up. The Nikkei 225 rose 82.19 points or 0.79% to 10,517. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong jumped 426.06 points or 2.08% to 20,861.30.NYMEX crude oil
for September delivery climbed as much as $1.56 cents or 2.2% to $71.72 a barrel in electronic trading.Disclosure: Author doesn't own any of the stocks mentioned here.