U.S. stock index futures continued their upward trend in early trading Thursday, with all three indices up about 0.1%. This comes after one of the best days the stock market has seen in several months, the Dow Jones Industrials having closed with triple-digit gains Wednesday.
But two major economic reports that could impact the market were just released before the bell: the durable goods orders and jobless claims. Orders for durable goods jumped up 3.4% in April, powered by demand for new automobiles and airplanes. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000, dropping to a seasonally adjusted 268,000 for the week ending May 21. Also worth noting, the pending home sales index will be out midmorning.
It was a positive day across the other world markets. All of the Asian markets closed in the green, the Shanghai Composite up by more than 0.2%. The Hang Seng and Nikkei followed closely behind, showing gains of approximately 0.1%. In Europe, the CAC 40 was up 0.5% with a few hours left before closing. The DAX and the FTSE 100 were also in the green, up 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively.
Crude oil looks set to break $50 on Thursday, as prices were trading up about 0.7% Thursday morning. Gold also turned around, up more than 0.4%.
Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) saw premarket gains near 14% after reporting earnings and revenue that beat forecasts. Revenue grew to $791 million, topping analysts' estimates of $741 million. The big revenue drivers: the new deal for the Lions Gate-produced Netflix (NFLX) series Orange is the New Black and the Pilgrim Studios acquisition.
The California-based film maker also reported adjusted earnings of $0.07 per share; analysts had predicted a $0.01 loss. CEO Jon Feltheimer said he expects the strong growth to continue this year, adding that this year's slate of films is bigger, more balanced, and is expected to generate even greater profitability than the prior year's.
Netflix (NFLX) shares were up more than 2.5% during early trading. Despite overall shares sinking 12% thus far this year, TheStreet's Jim Cramer says there is still a lot to like at Netflix. Even though the company offered conservative guidance for the remainder of the year, its latest exclusive deal with Disney offers big upside.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) is trading up more than 3.6% in the premarket after reporting better-than-expected results for the first-quarter. Revenue rose to $1.1 billion surpassing analysts' estimates of $1.08 billion. Earnings were also $0.03 above forecasts, coming in at $0.53 per diluted share. CEO Laura Alber said there was accelerated growth in West Elm and Williams-Sonoma.
Shares of Costco Wholesale (COST) were up in early trading, despite missing revenue estimates. Total revenue rose to $26.8 billion, falling short of analysts' predictions of $27.1 billion. Third-quarter earnings of $1.24 per share beat expectations. The wholesaler, which is a holding in Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, said membership fees rose nearly 6% in the third-quarter as it continues to outperform Sam's Club.
Sears Holdings (SHLD) shares will be worth watching after the company posted disappointing first-quarter earnings before the bell. The department store chain reported a loss of $471 million and saw sales drop more than 7%. However, there are more problems on the horizon: Sear's cash flow decline and loss of CFO Robert Schriesheim, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities, but will stay with the company until a replacement is named.