Stocks: Investors hope to get bull back on track

@CNNMoneyInvest April 12, 2012: 9:05 AM ET
Click on chart for more pre-market data

Click on chart for more pre-market data

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised to open slightly higher Thursday as worries about Europe took a backseat to U.S. economic and corporate results.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were holding modest gains. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Thursday will also offer more corporate results to help gauge the health of the U.S. economy. Rite Aid reported quarterly results before the bell in line with expectations, and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) will announce its results after markets close.

U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, bouncing back after a string of five down days, as concerns about Europe eased and hopes for a better-than-expected earnings season rose.

Aluminum producer Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) led Wednesday's gains after reporting a surprise first-quarter profit late Tuesday. Meanwhile, stocks in Europe rallied as investors welcomed declining yields on Spanish and Italian bonds.

Despite the gains, it's been a rough stretch lately for U.S. stocks, with the major indexes down more than 3% this month.

Economy: The Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose unexpectedly to 380,000 in the latest week, up from a revised reading of 367,000, which was also revised higher.

But separate reports showed no increase in overall wholesale prices in March, which was better than the 0.2% rise forecast, and the nation's trade deficit declined unexpectedly in February.

Companies: Rite Aid (RAD, Fortune 500) shares fell 0.6% in premarket trading after the company reported a quarterly loss of 18 cents a share on $7.1 billion in revenue, in line with expectations.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) fell more than 3% after the company said it had activated an oil spill response vessel to investigate a "light sheen" of oil spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sony (SNE) said Thursday that it would be cutting 10,000 jobs during the 2012 fiscal year as it seeks to revitalize its struggling business. The electronics maker warned earlier this week that its annual loss would be twice as large as its prior forecast, blaming write-offs of deferred tax credits.

Oaktree Capital Group (OAK) will start trading under the ticker OAK after the asset management firm raised $378 million through an initial public offering Wednesday. Oaktree sold 8.8 million shares at $43 apiece, the low end of its estimated range.

World markets: European stocks were little changed in afternooon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) was down 0.3%, while the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 0.01% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) ticked down by 0.04%. All were down from earlier trading.

Asian markets finished higher. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) rose 1.8%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong climbed 0.9% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) gained 0.7%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar slipped against the euro and the British pound but gained against the Japanese yen.

Oil for May delivery rose 46 cents to $103.16 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery fell $6.80 to $1,653.50 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2.02%.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,580.89 119.19 0.49%
Nasdaq 7,692.82 -20.14 -0.26%
S&P 500 2,754.88 5.12 0.19%
Treasuries 2.90 0.00 0.10%
Data as of 4:45pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Comcast Corp 33.81 1.02 3.11%
Bank of America Corp... 28.99 -0.30 -1.02%
General Electric Co 13.05 0.29 2.27%
AT&T Inc 31.69 0.09 0.28%
Micron Technology In... 57.10 -2.34 -3.94%
Data as of Jun 22
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15 yr fixed3.89%3.89%
5/1 ARM4.17%4.22%
30 yr refi4.44%4.43%
15 yr refi3.87%3.87%
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