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 (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) 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 (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 (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.
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.
Shares of Royal Dutch Shell (investigate a "light sheen" of oil spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.) fell more than 3% after the company said it had activated an oil spill response vessel to
Sony (warned earlier this week that its annual loss would be twice as large as its prior forecast, blaming write-offs of deferred tax credits.) 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
Oaktree Capital Group () 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 ( ) was down 0.3%, while the DAX ( ) in Germany gained 0.01% and France's CAC 40 ( ) ticked down by 0.04%. All were down from earlier trading.
Asian markets finished higher. The Shanghai Composite () rose 1.8%, the Hang Seng ( ) in Hong Kong climbed 0.9% and Japan's Nikkei ( ) gained 0.7%.
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%.
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