Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday as investors looked to corporate earnings and economic data that is expected to show a decline in weekly jobless claims.
The Labor Department’s report, due at 0830 a.m ET (1330 GMT), is expected to show the number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits decreased to 830,000 last week, as authorities started to loosen pandemic-related restrictions on businesses.
A report on Wednesday showed U.S. private payrolls rebounded more than expected in January, suggesting the labor market’s recovery was back on track. The government’s closely watched and comprehensive monthly employment report is due on Friday.
The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes closed slightly higher on Wednesday, with Alphabet Inc’s shares hitting a record high following strong quarterly results.
All the three major indexes have bounced back sharply this week as investors monitored talks over the next round of fiscal stimulus and as a recent buying frenzy driven by social media appeared to stall following a bout of market volatility last week.
Democrats pushed ahead on Wednesday with a maneuver to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support, as the White House said it was flexible on a key element of the plan.
Videogame retailer GameStop Corp rose 3.9%, while cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc added 2.6% in premarket trading ahead of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s meeting with financial regulators later in the day to discuss the recent market volatility.
Concerns over heightened stock market valuations, raging pandemic and new coronavirus variants have kept investors on edge with attention turning towards earnings outlook from corporate America to justify it.
U.S. companies are on track to post earnings growth for the fourth quarter of 2020, data from Refinitiv showed on Wednesday, which would defy expectations for profits to drop 10% due to the pandemic.
At 6:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 51.5 points, or 0.38%.
A pandemic-driven surge in online shopping during the holidays helped e-commerce firm eBay Inc and payment platform PayPal Holdings Inc top quarterly earnings estimates. EBay shares jumped 10.3%, while PayPal gained 5.1%.
(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)