Thursday April 20th


Futures point to higher open on Wall Street as Dow hopes to end losing streak

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday after the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 200 points over the last two days. The Dow has closed lower in five of the past six sessions. Wednesday's fall came after IBM's sales fell for the 20th straight quarter on a year-over-year basis. On the data front, initial jobless claims rose to 244,000, topping expectations, while the Philadelphia Fed business index fell to 22 in April from 32.8 in March. Leading indicators are also set to come out at 10 a.m. ET. On the earnings front, Travelers and Verizon are among companies that reported before the bell on Thursday. Visa and Mattel are set to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was around 0.07 percent higher on Thursday. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite was little changed, up 0.06 percent, and the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed flat, down 0.01 percent. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $53.16 a barrel on Thursday, up 0.43 percent, while U.S. crude was around $50.65 a barrel, up 0.42 percent. Crude prices posted their biggest one-day drop since March on Wednesday after data from the Energy Information Administration showed a build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected crude drawdown. Gold steadied on Thursday after its biggest one-day drop in more than six weeks, finding support from a retreat in the dollar and concerns about North Korea and the French election. Polls ahead of the French vote, which begins this weekend, give both far-right and far-left candidates a chance of making it into next month's run-off. Spot gold was mostly unchanged at $1,278.56 per ounce.