European rally helps sentiment, but Facebook, Tesla fall premarket
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U.S. stock futures pointed to a gain at the open Thursday, as traders digested a Federal Reserve statement that signaled confidence in the American economy.
European equities were trading higher and also helping sentiment, after markets-friendly French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/emmanuel-macron-5-things-to-know-about-the-man-poised-to-be-frances-president-2017-04-24) weathered a televised debate Wednesday night and appeared to remain on track to win in Sunday's runoff election.
S&P 500 futures rose by 6.80 points, or 0.3%, to 2,390, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 60 points, or 0.3%, to 20,939. Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 19.75 points, or 0.4%, to 5,633.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 closed lower by 0.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-to-open-lower-hurt-by-apples-earnings-driven-drop-2017-05-03), while the Dow gained less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.4%. The three gauges are up between 0.1% and 0.4% for the week as of Wednesday's close.
A Fed statement, released on Wednesday two hours before the market's close, said the central bank's policy group "views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory," deploying unusually dismissive language (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-holds-interest-rates-steady-dismisses-first-quarter-slump-as-transitory-2017-05-03).
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Meanwhile, Europe's main stock benchmark was on track Thursday for its highest close since August 2015 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-flirt-with-almost-21-month-high-after-earnings-deluge-2017-05-04), getting a lift from well-received earnings and Macron's debate performance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-le-pen-square-off-in-debate-ahead-of-sundays-french-election-2017-05-03).
"Macron was considered to have outperformed Marine Le Pen in the final presidential debate in France last night. This has helped to boost equity markets in Europe," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, in a note.
A rally in U.S. stocks on April 24 was attributed in part to Macron's strong showing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-poised-to-rally-as-investors-breathe-sigh-of-relief-over-french-vote-2017-04-24) in the first round of France's presidential election.
Economic news: Beyond the prior day's Fed statement, investors are focused on Friday's closely watched nonfarm payrolls data, as well as on Thursday's raft of economic releases.
A reading on weekly jobless claims is slated to hit at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with economists polled by MarketWatch forecasting 245,000 claims.
At that same time, a March figure for the U.S. trade deficit is due, along with a report on first-quarter productivity and unit labor costs. Forecasts are for a deficit of $44.5 billion, as well as no growth in productivity and a 2.6% rise in labor expenses.
At 10 a.m. Eastern, a release on March factory orders is expected to show 0.5% growth.
There are no Fed officials scheduled to speak today.
Individual movers: Shares in Facebook Inc.(FB) fell 0.3% in premarket action Thursday, after being choppy in after-hours action Wednesday as the social-media giant reported its quarterly earnings.
Facebook posted (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-shares-rise-after-first-quarter-revenue-beat-2017-05-03) better-than-expected earnings based on generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, as well as revenue that topped forecasts.
See:Facebook follows Google in recognizing earnings reality (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-follows-google-in-recognizing-earnings-reality-2017-05-03)
Tesla Inc.(TSLA) lost 1.5% premarket after the maker of electric cars late Wednesday revealed a wider-than-expected adjusted loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-higher-after-wider-loss-revenue-beat-2017-05-03) but quarterly revenue beat forecasts.
Read: Elon Musk says robot software will make Tesla worth as much as Apple (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-robot-software-will-make-tesla-worth-as-much-as-apple-2017-05-04)
Dunkin' Brands Group Inc.(DNKN) dropped 1.5% ahead of the open after the donuts seller posted (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dunkin-brands-falls-15-premarket-after-revenue-miss-2017-05-04) a larger-than-expected rise in adjusted profit, but weaker-than-anticipated revenue.
Avon Products Inc.(AVP) reported a surprise loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avon-products-reports-surprise-loss-while-sales-rise-as-expected-2017-05-04), while sales rose as expected. The stock was still inactive in premarket trade.
Kellogg Co.(K) and Madison Square Garden Co.(MSG) were also among the companies on the earnings docket before the open.
Other markets:Gold futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-tumbles-1-after-fed-signals-confidence-in-the-us-economy-2017-05-04) tumbled 1% and were on pace for their lowest settlement since mid-March, and oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-pull-back-as-latest-us-supply-data-triggers-fresh-concerns-2017-05-04) traded lower.
See:Why now may be a good time to buy gold and silver (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-now-may-be-a-good-time-to-buy-gold-and-silver-2017-05-03)
And read:Gold investment demand falls 34%, but WGC says it was still 'robust' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-investment-demand-falls-34-but-wgc-says-it-was-still-robust-2017-05-04)
Asian markets finished mostly with losses, though Korea's benchmark scored a record close (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/record-high-for-korean-stocks-as-other-asian-markets-slip-2017-05-03). A key dollar index edged down.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 04, 2017 08:11 ET (12:11 GMT)