(RTTNews) - After ending the previous session modestly higher, stocks may see some further upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 36 points.
Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to upbeat earnings news from Microsoft (MSFT), with the software giant moving notably higher in pre-market trading.
After the close of trading on Wednesday, Microsoft reported quarterly results that exceeded analyst estimates, boosted by cloud and Office revenues.
Big-name companies like Comcast (CMCSA), Dow (DOW) and Southwest Airlines (LUV) are also seeing pre-market strength after reporting their quarterly results.
Meanwhile, shares of Twitter (TWTR) are likely to come under pressure after the social media giant reported weaker than expected third quarter results and provided disappointing guidance.
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 19th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 212,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 218,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed a steep drop in orders for transportation equipment contributed to a bigger than expected decrease in U.S. durable goods orders in the month of September.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders tumbled by 1.1 percent in September after rising by a revised 0.3 percent in August.
Economists had expected durable goods orders to decline by 0.8 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding the nosedive in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders dipped by 0.3 percent in September after climbing by 0.3 percent in August. Ex-transportation orders had expected to edge down by 0.2 percent.
Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new home sales in the month of September.
Economists expect new home sales to slump by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 701,000 in September after spiking by 7.1 percent to a rate of 713,000 in August.
Following the pullback seen late in Tuesday's session, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The major averages moved to the upside going into the close, ending the day modestly higher. The Dow edged up 45.85 points or 0.2 percent to 26,833.95, the Nasdaq rose 15.50 points or 0.2 percent to 8,119.79 and the S&P 500 climbed 8.53 points or 0.3 percent to 3,004.52.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.9 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.9 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.18 to $55.79 a barrel after jumping $1.49 to $55.97 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $8.20 to $1,495.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $1.70 to $1,497.40 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.55 yen compared to the 108.69 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1136 compared to yesterday's $1.1130.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.