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U.S. futures up with earnings and data ahead, oil struggles for gains - - Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday as investors kept an eye on earnings and oil while waiting for data on the U.S. labor market.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 50 points, or 0.27%, by 10:55AM GMT, or 6:55AM ET, the S&P 500 futures rose 5 points, or 0.21%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 13 points, or 0.27%.

While second quarter earnings season continues to wind down this week, corporate reports are due before the open from department store giants Macy's (NYSE:M) and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS), while Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) reports after the closing bell.

The U.S. department stores are expected to see earnings and revenues slide, an ongoing trend for the industry.

Chinese online retailing giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) also reports earnings ahead of the bell. Its revenues are expected to jump nearly 50% from last year, and earnings should rise about 13%, as internet sales in China and the U.S. grow.

Outside earnings, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) plunged more than 9% in pre-market trade as U.S. prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the Canadian drugmaker over whether it hid from insurers its relationship with a specialty pharmacy that helped boost its drug sales, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

In currency markets, the dollar moved higher against the other major rivals on Thursday, pulling away from the previous session's one-week trough as investors turned their attention to upcoming U.S. data.

Weekly jobless claims will be released at 12:30GMT, or 8:30AM ET, along with July export and import prices.

Also in Forex moves, the New Zealand dollar climbed to one-month highs against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday, even as the country's monetary authority RBNZ cut interest rates by 0.25%. Despite the move being priced in, some experts explained that some traders had hoped for a larger move.

Meanwhile, oil was struggling for gains in choppy trade on Thursday, trying to recover from the prior session's losses of near 2.5% as a surprise crude build in the U.S. combined with record-high Saudi Arabian production weighed on sentiment.

Crude hit intraday lows on Thursday, plunging more than 1% after the International Energy Agency on Thursday slashed its forecast for global oil demand growth next year amid a dimmer economic outlook and warned that the "massive" stock overhang is keeping a lid on crude oil prices .

U.S. crude futures inched up 0.07% to $41.74 by 10:58AM GMT, or 6:58AM ET, while Brent oil traded up 0.32% to $44.19.

Elsewhere, European and U.K. stocks were mixed on Thursday, with oil and gas shares under pressure.

Earlier, Asian shares closed lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, amid the fall in oil prices. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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