Stock futures trade higher ahead of GDP report

Traders will also digest jobless claims and pending home sales numbers

U.S. equity futures are pointing to gains ahead of the report on second quarter growth.

The major futures indexes suggest a gain of 0.4% when the opening bell rings on Wall Street.

Nasdaq futures are pointing lower.

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 There will be two major economic reports released before trading begins.

The first estimate of 2Q GDP is forecast to come in at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 8.5%, more than two full percentage points ahead of the 6.4% growth in the first quarter and nearly double the 4.3% pace of growth in the last quarter of 2020.

FISCAL STIMULUS, VACCINES LIKELY FUELED US ECONOMIC GROWTH 

At the same time, the Labor Department is out with its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 380,000. That’s down from a 2-month high of 419,000 the prior week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are anticipated to drop by 40,000 to 3.196 million, the third consecutive pandemic low.

Later in the morning, the National Association of Realtors will publish its index of pending home sales for June.  Economists anticipate a 0.3% month-over-month increase.

On the earnings calendar, morning reports include Comcast, Merck, Northrop Grumman, Altria Group and Mastercard. 

Amazon's results will be out after Thursday’s closing bell.

Asian stocks rose Thursday after the Federal Reserve kept its accommodative monetary policies and signaled that the U.S. economic recovery was on track.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.7%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 3.3% and China's Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 1.5% after three days of declines. 

In Europe, London's FTSE added 0.9%, Germany's DAX gained 0.5% and France's CAC rose 0.7%.

The Fed said Wednesday that "the economy has made progress" toward its goals of low unemployment and stable inflation.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34798 +33.18 +0.10%
SP500 S&P 500 4455.48 +6.50 +0.15%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 15047.699032 -4.54 -0.03%

The central bank however left its key interest rate unchanged at the end of a two-day policy meeting. It will also keep buying $120 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month until more progress is made.

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 was little changed at 4,400.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% to 34,930.93. The Nasdaq added 0.7% to 14,762.58.

ROBINHOOD PRICES IPO AT $38 PER SHARE RAISING $2B

Robinhood Markets Inc. will begin trading as a public company on Thursday following the pricing of its initial public offering. The company says it priced 55 million shares at $38 a share, which comes in at the low end of the $38 to $42 offering range. Shares will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "HOOD."

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In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $72.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 74 cents to $72.39 on Wednesday. Brent crude oil, the basis for international oil prices, added 16 cents to $74.90.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.