Day Ahead: Apple Drives Early Action

 | Apr 24, 2014 | 8:15 AM EDT
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U.S. stock futures were soaring Thursday morning as Wall Street prepared for the busiest day of this earnings season. By the time the day is done, 64 S&P 500 companies will have reported quarterly results. Among them are bellwethers such as Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Caterpillar (CAT).

Wall Street is still digesting last night's powerhouse report from Action Alerts PLUS holding Apple (AAPL), which not only turned in a strong quarter but also announced a huge stock split and boosted its share-repurchase program and its dividend. The shares were recently up more than 8% in premarket trading. Charitable-trust holding Facebook (FB) also issued strong quarterly results last night, tempered somewhat by the announcement that CFO David Ebersman plans to step down

With so much earnings action, it's easy to forget that weekly jobless claims and durable-goods orders were released this morning. Durable goods were better than expected, rising 2.6% in March vs. a revised 2.1% increase in February. And weekly jobless claims rose to 329,000 last week, up from 305,000 first-time filers the week before. And don't forget that April's manufacturing-activity report from the Kansas City Fed is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.

Overseas, European markets were moving higher this morning, helped by an unexpected rise in German business confidence and dovish comments from the European Central bank.

Among early reporters, UPS (UPS) missed bottom-line quarterly estimates by a dime per share. Action Alerts PLUS holding GM (GM) surpassed the Street's earnings-per-share estimates on an adjusted basis. And Caterpillar bested EPS views by a wide margin.

The earnings onslaught continues after the closing bell, led by Amazon, Deckers Outdoor (DECK), Microsoft (MSFT), Starbucks (SBUX), Visa (V), Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Baidu (BIDU).

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