IBM Results Boost Stock Futures

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed higher on Thursday after strong quarterly results and a rosy guidance from blue-chip tech company IBM helped traders overcome worries about Spain and much weaker-than-expected data on the American jobs market.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 53 points to 12913, S&P 500 futures gained 6.3 points to 1373 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17.5 points to 2638.

With earnings season in full swing, there is no lack of corporate news for traders to digest. IBM (NYSE:IBM) unveiled second-quarter profits that topped Wall Street's expectations after the closing bell on Wednesday. The Dow component also pushed its full-year guidance up beyond the analysts' expectations.

Other earnings released ahead of the opening bell on Thursday were mixed.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) revealed a second-quarter operating income of 28 cents a share on revenues of $7 billion, including a debt valuation adjustment. Excluding DVA, the investment bank earned 16 cents on $6.6 billion. Analysts were looking for an EPS of 43 cents on $7.7 billion in sales.

Travelers (NYSE:TRV) revealed adjusted second-quarter profits of $1.26 a share, well short of the $1.35 analysts expected. The blue-chip insurer’s revenues came in at $6.36 billion, better than the billion expected.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) unveiled a second-quarter EPS of 64 cents on sales of $28.6 billion, nearly exactly matching Wall Street’s expectations.

Wall Street was also confronted with worrisome news out of embattled Spain. The country saw tepid demand, and was faced to pay dramatically higher yields, at an auction of two-year, five-year and seven-year bonds, according to data from the Wall Street Journal. There have been fears brewing that it would get locked out of the private debt market, potentially necessitating a bailout for Europe's No. 4 economy.

The German parliament is expected to vote later on the day on a European Union aid package for Spain's banks. Analysts expect the measure to pass.

On the economic front, there are several key reports on tap. New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 386,000 from an upwardly revised 352,000 the week prior, according to the Labor Department. Claims were expected to rise to 365,000 from a previously reported 350,000. A Labor Department spokesperson said claims are more volatile than usual due to differences in the timing of auto layoffs that normally occur this time of year, according to Reuters.

A separate report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve later in the morning is forecast to show the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic having contracted at a slower pace in July than it did in June. Data from the National Association of Realtors due at the same time is expected to show sales of existing, single-family homes having risen to an annualized rate of 4.63 million units in June from 4.55 million in May.

Oil prices climbed after six-straight days of gains. The benchmark contract traded in New York jumped $1.18, or 1.3%, to $91.05 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.97% to $2.912 a gallon.

In metals, gold rallied $17.10, or 1.1%, to $1,588 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.84% to 2304, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.42% to 5710 and the German DAX jumped 1% to 6753.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.79% to 8796 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 1.7% to 19559.