On Thursday, U.S. stock index futures gained as corporate earnings continue to be reported and investors anticipated economic data as well as an interest rate decision by the European Central Bank.
The ECB decision was expected at 7:45 a.m. EST, with a news conference scheduled by central bank President Mario Draghi at 8:30 a.m. EST. Draghi may put a damper on the idea that the ECB is heading towards an interest rate increase because of its quickly strengthening euro at the same time as the euro zone economy is booming.
Earnings are expected to be reported from companies including Dow components 3M Co, Caterpillar Inc and Intel Corp. Thus far, it has been a strong quarterly earnings season. That, along with solid economic data has pushed Wall Street’s major indexes to what looks to be its fourth straight week of gains this year.
According to data through Wednesday, earnings growth for the S&P 500 is forecast at 12.4 percent. Of the 88 companies in the index that have reported, 78.4 percent have surpassed expectations, while 72 percent have averaged doing so for the prior four quarters.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.28 percent, with 125,450 contracts changing hands. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 37 points, or 0.53 percent, in volume of 34,580 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 62 points, or 0.24 percent, with 26,221 contracts traded.
The dollar dropped against a basket of major currencies and lingered near three-year lows. On Wednesday, the greenback experienced its largest daily percentage loss in seven months following the comment from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of welcoming a weaker currency.
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Expected economic data includes weekly jobless claims and also reports on the housing market.
Ford Motor Co shares declined 0.8 percent to $$11.95 during premarket trading following the company’s post of lower-than-expected quarterly net profit, impacted by the increase in the cost of commodities and unfavorable currency exchange rates. The company stated that it anticipates enduring negative impacts this year due to the increase of raw material prices.
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where is expected to promote his “America First” agenda in a speech scheduled for Friday.