Stock Futures Climb, S&P Eyes Record Highs

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. stock-index futures ticked up Thursday as banks in Cyprus re-opened and traders digested mixed economic data. Meanwhile, the broad S&P 500 sits just points away from its record closing high.

Today's Markets

As of 8:34 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 21 points to 14466, S&P 500 futures gained 1 point to 1558 and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 5.5 points to 2807.

With the markets closed for Good Friday, Thursday is the last trading day of the first quarter. It has been a strong one for equities, with the Dow surging 11% in its best first-quarter run since 1998. The broader S&P 500 has rallied nearly 10%. The blue-chip average also notched a fresh record high repeatedly.

Europe continued garnering a good deal of traders' attention early in the day. Banks in Cyprus finally re-opened after being closed for 11 days in a bid to avoid a deposit run. Despite strict capital controls and security worries, the openings took place in relative calm, according to FOX Business reporters and producers on the ground.

While the situation might be brightening across the island nation, the bail-in that levied uninsured deposits has sparked concern that such a solution will be a template for other countries, according to analysts.

In a sign of how the eurozone's troubles aren't confined to periphery countries, Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, saw unemployment jump by 13,000 people. Economists expected unemployment to fall by 4,000.

There are also a slew of reports due out on the U.S. economy.

A final reading on U.S. gross domestic product from the Commerce Department showed the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 0.4% in the fourth quarter, up from an initial estimate of 0.1% growth, but below the 0.5% expected. Economists at essentially every large investment bank expect growth to pick up markedly in the first quarter of this year.

A report from the Labor Department showed weekly jobless claims jumping by 16,000 to 357,000, considerably higher than estimates of 340,000.

At 9:45 a.m. ET, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago reveals its gauge of manufacturing in the Midwest. Economists were expecting a reading of 56.5 in March from 56.8 the month prior.

In corporate news, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) unexpectedly posted an adjusted profit of 22 cents a share, easily besting estimates of a loss of 29 cents. Revenues of $2.7 billion came in slightly shy of estimates of $2.8 billion, however.

Energy futures were little changed. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract climbed 11 cents, or 0.11%, to $96.69 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.52% to $3.099 a gallon. In metals, gold fell $6.20, or 0.39%, to $1601 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.47% to 2625, the English FTSE 100 jumped 0.71% to 6433 and the German DAX advanced 0.34% to 7816.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off 1.3% to 12336 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.74% to 22300.