NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were set for a positive open Thursday as investors took in earnings from Morgan Stanley, Verizon and Nokia while jobless claims ticked back up.
Dow Jones industrial average (), S&P 500 ( ) and Nasdaq ( ) futures were up between 0.4% and 0.5%. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Initial jobless claims last week came in higher than expected, at 386,000. That was an increase of 34,000 from the previous week's revised figure.
Morgan Stanley (Fortune 500), the last of the big banks to report quarterly results, missed earnings and revenue forecasts, sending shares down more than 3%.,
Tech firms also reported mixed results. Nokia (Fortune 500) reported earnings in line with forecasts. Google ( , Fortune 500) and Microsoft ( , Fortune 500) will release results after the closing bell.)'s stock tumbled after the company reported a wider loss, and Verizon ( ,
Worries about a slowing U.S. economy continues to unnerve investors.
"There's little to no strong evidence that quantitative easing is actually making its way into the real economy," said Gerry Davies, a ForexLive currency analyst in London. "In the UK, we've done quantitave easing, but we can't quantify.
Earlier this week, Fed chair Ben Bernanke gave few hints about another round of stimulus, while cautioning that the outlook for the economy remains gloomy.
In Europe, Spain sold €2.98 billion worth of two-, five- and seven-year notes but demand was weak, sending the yield on Spain's benchmark 10-year bond back above 7%.
U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors focused on better-than-expected corporate results, and testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.
World markets: European stocks were positive in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 ( ) edged up 0.2%, the DAX ( ) in Germany added 1% and France's CAC 40 ( ) gained 0.9%, .
Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite () rose 0.7%, the Hang Seng ( ) in Hong Kong climbed 1.7% and Japan's Nikkei ( ) gained 0.8%.
Economy: At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will release data on existing home sales for June, which are expected to come in at an annual rate of 4.65 million.
Also at 10 a.m., the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will release its Business Outlook index, and the Conference Board will release its Leading Economic Indicators index.
Companies: Shares of Walgreen ( , Fortune 500) surged 12% after the company finally reached a multi-year pharmacy network agreement with Express Scripts ( , Fortune 500). The prescription company's shares rose 2%.
Southwest Airlines (Fortune 500) reported revenue of $4.6 billion and earnings of 30 cents a share, beating forecasts.,
Oil for August delivery rose 77 cents to $90.64 a barrel.
Gold futures for August delivery rose $10 to $1,580.80 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.51% from 1.48% late Wednesday.
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