Futures gain ahead of earnings reports, jobless claims

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, with investors weighing the prospects of the economy re-opening against worsening macroeconomic data and dour first-quarter earnings reports.

The S&P 500 (SPX) recoiled from a four-week high on Wednesday as the big U.S. banks braced for a wave of potential loan defaults as the coronavirus crushed business activity.

On Thursday, BlackRock Inc (N:BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, reported a drop in quarterly profit as investors pulled money out of its marquee funds and preferred cash management services.

Medical equipment maker Abbott Laboratories Inc (N:ABT) and Morgan Stanley (N:MS) are scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.

Focus will also be on weekly jobless claims, which are likely to have surged past 5 million last week, taking total unemployment claims to an astounding 20 million in the past month.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is expected to announce “new guidelines” for re-opening the economy as he said data suggested the United States had passed the peak on new coronavirus infections.

At 6:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis <1YMcv1> were up 53 points, or 0.23%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.25 points, or 0.33% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 55 points, or 0.64%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY) rose 0.4%.

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