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Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Jobless Claims Numbers

Tickers in this article: AMZN QCOM SBUX UPS ZNGA ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were eyeing a higher open Thursday ahead of a slate of earnings reports from companies including Exxon Mobil , and Starbucks and prior to a report that is predicted to show a dip in joblessness.

The Labor Department publishes its numbers on weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Economists, on average, are expecting claims to have fallen to 351,000 in the week ended April 10 from 352,000 the previous week, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. Continuing claims in the week ended April 13 are predicted to have slipped to 3.06 million from 3.068 million the preceding week.

Analysts expect oil giant Exxon on Thursday to post first-quarter profit of $2.05 a share on revenue of $119.83 billion. In last year's first quarter, Exxon, the world's most valuable company, earned $9.45 billion, or $2 a share, on revenue of $124 billion., the online retailer, is expected by Wall Street on Thursday after the markets close to post first-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $16.14 billion. For the same quarter last year, the company earned 28 cents a share on revenue of $13.2 billion.

Scott Wren, the St. Louis-based senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, noted that at this point in the earnings season the probability of a big upside or downside in earnings surprises relative to expectations is quite small.

"At this point in the cycle, earnings growth almost always slows down to a more modest pace. Gone are the days of huge year-over-year gains as the economy climbs out of the recessionary hole," Wren commented in a note. "The comparisons get tougher as the recovery moves ahead and analysts get closer to reality with their individual company estimates."

Starbucks is forecast to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share on sales of $3.59 billion after the close of the regular trading session. Shares were up 0.28% to $60 in premarket trading.

United Parcel Service is seen by Wall Street posting profit of $1.01 a share in the first quarter on revenue of $13.46 billion.

Futures for the S&P 500 were rising 4.25 points, or 4.81 points above fair value, to 1,578.25.

Disappointments from Procter & Gamble and Edwards Lifesciences offset a bullish report on equities from Goldman Sachs as the S&P 500 closed unchanged on Wednesday.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 41 points, or 42.7 points above fair value, to 14,656. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 9.5 points, or 6.68 points above fair value, to 2,833.5.

Verizon Communications hired advisers to prepare a possible cash and stock bid of $100 billion to take full control of Verizon Wireless from joint venture partner Vodafone, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Vodafone shares were adding 3.5% to $30.63.