Forex Pros – U.S. stock futures pointed to a broadly higher open on Thursday, as market sentiment was boosted by upbeat earnings from Federal Express and after the Group of Seven nations said they would hold talks on Friday.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated a gain of 1.05%, the S&P 500 futures pointed to an increase of 1.35%, while Nasdaq 100 futures implied a gain of 1.25%.
Earlier in the day, French Finance Minister Christine Legarde said leaders from the G7 group of nations were to hold talks on Friday to discuss ways to calm global markets which have been thrown into turmoil by Japan’s nuclear crisis.
Meanwhile, the world’s second largest package delivery company Federal Express surged 5.1% after it said third quarter revenue jumped by 11% to USD9.66 billion. The company lifted its full-year earnings outlook, citing increased global demand for both ground and air services.
Consumer electronics giant Apple saw shares advance 1.8% in pre-market trade after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to ‘outperform’ and raised its target price by 34% to USD500, citing strong earnings growth outlook.
Elsewhere, shares in the world’s biggest supplier of semiconductors used in phones Qualcomm jumped 3.3% after JP Morgan recommended buying the stock, following a nine-day retreat.
Across the sector, Nvidia saw shares climb 2.7%, while JDS Uniphase added 2.9% ahead of the open.
Clothing retailer Guess saw shares tumble 5.5% in pre-market trade after it reported lower-than-expected fourth quarter revenue after markets closed on Wednesday.
Other stocks in focus included Bank of America and Citigroup, as well as UBS after the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department were investigating the lenders for manipulating borrowing rates.
Also Thursday, athletic apparel giant Nike, which was slated to release third quarter earnings report later Thursday.
In Europe, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 1.13%, France’s CAC 40 gained 1.05%, Germany’s DAX jumped 1.27%, while the FTSE 100 rose 0.87%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed down 2%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index dropped 1.4%, amid mounting fears over the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe in Japan.
Earlier in the day, official U.S. data showed that initial jobless claims declined broadly in line with expectations last week. A separate report said that that consumer price inflation rose slightly more-than-expected in February, while core consumer prices, which exclude more volatile food and energy costs, rose slightly more-than-expected last month.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release official data on industrial production, while the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia was to publish an index of manufacturing activity.
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