Futures higher on strong corporate performances

AP News
Posted: Oct 24, 2013 9:02 AM
Futures higher on strong corporate performances

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures rose on more strong earnings from U.S. companies, though some mixed data on jobs and trade may have held gains in check Thursday.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 60 points to 15,411. S&P futures gained 5 points to 1,746. Nasdaq futures gained 7.75 points to 3,347.75.

Ford raised its guidance for the entire year after posting a record profit for the third quarter. The automaker's revenue spiked 12 percent to $36 billion, but it's still being weighed down by the dismal economic conditions in Europe, where it booked a $250 million restructuring charge.

Southwest Airlines also had a strong third quarter, with the average fare rising more than 11 percent compared with last year.

3M beat expectations as well. The conglomerate generates more than half of its revenue from outside of the U.S. and how it does can provide hints about the broader economy and the climate for exporters.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened slightly as exports slipped for a second consecutive month.

The dollar is trading near a two-year low against the euro due to concerns about the U.S. economy, which typically would benefit exporters. But Europe is still struggling, as was seen in Ford's numbers Thursday.

The government also reported Thursday that Americans seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week, though the total was elevated for the third straight week by technical problems in California.

Applications have dropped for two consecutive weeks while the less volatile four-week average jumped by nearly 11,000 to 348,250, according to the Labor Department.

Before a number of distortions skewed employment data, applications for aid had fallen to levels not seen since before the recession.