(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher opening on the Wall Street as investors digested earnings reports from major banks as well as a set of better-than-expected economic readings.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 36 points to 13,473. The Nasdaq futures added 13.25 points to 2,739.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 6.50 points to 1,471.70.
On the domestic economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits dropped more than expected, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 37,000 to 335,000 for the week ended Jan. 12 from a revised 372,000, while economists projected 365,000 applications.
Another reported showed housing starts in the United States rose 12.0 percent to 954,000 for December, while permits for future building construction inched 0.3 percent higher to 903,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Economists' expected housing starts at 890,000 and building permits of 903,000.
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The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing Index is expected to show a reading of 5.8 this month from 4.6 in December.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note amid worries about global economic growth as investors digested earnings reports from major banks as well as a batch of economic data.
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In corporate news, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) shed 1.70 percent in premarket after the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said fourth-quarter earnings declined 63 percent reflecting lower revenue and settlements with Fannie Mae.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) retreated 2.80 percent in premarket after the banking giant reported lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and revenues on higher legal costs and a lower net loan loss reserve release.
eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) gained 2.65 percent in premarket after the online auction site posted quarterly earnings and revenue that beat market expectations, boosted by strong performance of its PayPal and marketplaces businesses. The company guided first quarter below consensus.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) fell 1.80 percent in premarket after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered its airlines to ground the company's 787 Dreamliners following an in-flight, 787 battery incident earlier today in Japan on Wednesday.
BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) gained 3.54 percent in premarket after the investment management firm posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, as strength in base fees and higher performance fees drove a 14 percent rise in revenue.
Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: NUS) jumped 4.94 percent in premarket after the developer of anti-aging personal care products issued an upbeat fourth-quarter guidance.
Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) retreated 2.37 percent in premarket. The nutritional supplements company raised its fourth-quarter earnings estimate and said there is the likelihood of a temporary increase in expenses, associated with recent events.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX down 0.01 percent to trade at 7,690.30. France's CAC40 advanced 0.96 percent to trade at 3,743.94. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.16 percent to trade at 6,114.04.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell 1.06 percent to close at 2,284.91. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched 0.09 percent higher to finish at 10,609.64. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.07 percent to end at 23,339.76. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.74 percent higher at 19,974.03.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures added 0.54 percent to $94.75 per barrel. Gold futures fell 0.08 percent to $1,681.90 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro gained 0.60 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3369, and the British pound added 0.12 percent to 1.6026. The dollar jumped 1.03 percent against the Japanese yen to 89.2900.