U.S. stock futures add to gains after data; Dow up 0.35%

Forex Pros - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, amid increased merger and acquisition activity, while markets digested weekly data on first-time jobless claims and a report on the nation's trade deficit.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 0.35%, the S&P 500 futures added 0.45%, while Nasdaq 100 futures indicated an increase of 0.35%.

Stock index futures added to gains after government data showed that the nation's trade balance unexpectedly narrowed in April, while continuing jobless claims fell more-than-expected last week. First time jobless claims rose by 1K to 427K last week.

Meanwhile, Visa saw shares add 0.85% in pre-market trade after it announced a deal to acquire South Africa-based Fundamo, a leading platform provider of mobile financial services in emerging economies, for approximately USD110 million.

The company also announced a long-term commercial agreement with Monitise, a leading provider of mobile services for financial institutions.

Shares in oil and gas giant Exxon-Mobil climbed 1% after announcing that it bought privately held natural gas company Phillips Resources for approximately USD1.69 billion.

In earnings news, J.M. Smucker saw shares jump 2.3% after it reported fourth quarter revenue that topped market expectations, thanks to higher sales volumes and product prices.

On the downside, Citigroup saw shares drop 1.1% after it said computer hackers breached the bank's network and accessed the data of about 200,000 bank card holders in the U.S.

Shares in the world's largest analog-semiconductor maker Texas Instruments dipped 0.7% after it lowered its outlook for second quarter earnings and revenue, citing weak demand from a major wireless customer, which is believed to be Nokia.

In more bad news for Nokia, chief technology officer Richard Green announced Wednesday that he was taking a leave of absence, and a Finnish newspaper said he was unlikely to return due to disagreements over the strategy of the struggling mobile phone company. Shares in Nokia were down 0.5%.

Also Thursday, shares in chip-maker National Semiconductor could be active. The company was scheduled to release its fourth quarter earnings results after Thursday's closing bell.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 dipped 0.15%, France's CAC 40 shed 0.1%, Germany's DAX gained 0.15%, while Britain's FTSE 100 eased down 0.05%.

Earlier Thursday, both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept their benchmark interest rates unchanged at 1.25% and 0.50% respectively.

During the Asian trading session, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.19%, while Hong Kong's Hang Send Index slipped 0.23%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release official data on wholesale inventories as well as a report on natural gas stockpiles.

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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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