Futures gain ahead of earnings reports, jobless claims

(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 (BLK.N), 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 (ABT.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) 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 EScv1 were up 9.25 points, or 0.33% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 55 points, or 0.64%.

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

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