Will a new month bring new highs for stocks?
After the Dow Jones industrial average hit a record close Wednesday, another stream of earnings could encourage investors to push markets to new heights.
U.S. stock futures were edging into positive territory Thursday, as investors await quarterly reports from a number of blue-chip companies.
"[Earnings] haven't been very strong, but they've been good enough to assuage people's fears," said financial analyst Peter Leeds.
Domino's Pizza (, )Exxon Mobil (, )Kellogg (, )MasterCard (, )Viacom ( and )T-Mobile ( will all report earnings before the bell. )LinkedIn ( and )Kraft Foods ( are set to report after the close, among others. )
Sony Corp ( slashed its profit outlook and said it expected to report a first-quarter loss. )
Shares of DirectTV ( spiked on talk that )AT&T (may be making a bid for the satellite TV company. )
Economic data may also set the tone on Wall Street. The U.S. government will publish its initial jobless claims report and personal income and spending numbers at 8:30 a.m. ET. Briefing.com consensus is forecasting 315,000 claims in the week ended April 26, down from 329,000 the prior week.
The ISM manufacturing index will come out at 10 a.m. ET. The Commerce Department will then release auto sales data in the afternoon.
Most of the major European markets were closed for a holiday Thursday, but the U.K. exchanges were open. The FTSE 100 edged higher, led by Lloyds Banking Group (. The British bank reported first-quarter results that impressed investors. )