5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were signaling slight gains on Wall Street Thursday ahead of weekly jobless claims and earnings reports from Exxon Mobil(XOM) , PepsiCo(PEP) and Amazon.com(AMZN) .
Stocks got a lift Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's assurances the central bank is leaving the door open to more quantitative easing if necessary to boost the economy.
European stocks were trading mixed. Asian shares finished flat. The Nikkei 225 index in Japan ended the trading day slightly higher at 9,561.83. P/>The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and pending home sales for March at 10 a.m.
The consensus calls for initial claims to come in at 373,000, a decline after averaging 387,000 per week for the past two weeks.
Exxon Mobil(XOM) , the world's largest publicly traded energy company, is expected by analysts Thursday to post first-quarter profit of $2.10 a share, down from $2.14 a share a year earlier.
Analysts expect revenue at Exxon to rise almost 10% to about $125 billion.
The oil giant raised its quarterly dividend Wednesday by 21% to 57 cents a share from 47 cents.
Amazon(AMZN) , the online retailer, is expected by analysts to post first-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, down from 44 cents a share a year earlier.
Sales are seen rising 31% to $12.9 billion.
Amazon is scheduled to report after the markets close Thursday.
Chrysler, the U.S. automaker, posted quarterly profit of $473 million, its best quarter in 13 years.
Chrysler's sales in the first quarter rose 39% on strength in North America.
The company also reiterated that it would earn $1.5 billion in 2012.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) posted first-quarter earnings that topped estimates because of a boost in production and higher oil prices.