U.S. stock futures were in a holding pattern amid a fresh batch of economic data and more quarterly results.
The government released its weekly report on initial jobless claims before the open, showing that claims totaled 346,000 in the week ending April 6, a drop of 42,000 from the week before.
Retailers were also reporting February same-store sales -- a key metric used to gauge consumer spending.
Sales at Costco (Fortune 500) rose 4%, missing forecasts, while , Gap (Fortune 500) reported same-store sales that rose a better-than-expected 3% in the latest month. , Bed Bath & Beyond (Fortune 500) shares rose 2% after reporting a sales increase. ,
On the earnings front, drugstore chain Rite Aid (Fortune 500) swung to a profit in the latest quarter, trouncing forecasts and sending shares up 11% in premarket trading. ,
Pier 1 Imports Inc ( reported earnings in line with forecasts but issued lower guidance. The stock was down more than 3% in premarket trading. )
Shares of PC companies continued to sell off following news that PC sales fell 14% worldwide last quarter. Shares of Microsoft (Fortune 500), , Intel (Fortune 500) and , Hewlett-Packard (Fortune 500) were all lower. ,
U.S. stocks booked strong gains Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 closing at new record highs.
European markets were higher in morning trading, supported by Wall Street's record-breaking run.
Toyota ( shares were higher in premarket trading, despite the company's )recall of 1.7 million vehicles because of airbag defects. Honda ( shares also rose, after the company said it was recalling 1.1 million vehicles with airbag problems. Airbag supplier Takata Corp closed down 9% in Tokyo. )
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