* 3M Co falls after earnings, outlook
* Initial jobless claims fall in latest week
* Verizon looking at bid for Verizon Wireless - sources
* Futures up: Dow 42 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 16 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 25 U.S. stocks were poised for a
higher open on Thursday, as investors dealt with a raft of
earnings, including those of 3M Co and ExxonMobil, with added
support from a drop in initial jobless claims.
ExxonMobil Corp dipped 0.5 percent to $89 in
premarket trading. The largest U.S. company by market
capitalization said its quarterly profit edged up, helped by
higher earnings in its chemicals business but oil and gas
Fellow Dow component 3M Co lost 3.5 percent to
$104.10 before the opening bell after the diversified U.S.
manufacturer posted first-quarter earnings and revenue that
missed Wall Street expectations and cut its 2013 profit
But United Parcel Service Inc, advanced 0.7 percent
to $84.05 before the opening bell after the world's largest
package-delivery company reported a quarterly profit above
"Investors coming into this earnings season were quite
fearful, so even modestly positive news becomes great news and
that is what we've experienced for the last several days," said
Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors in
Rochester, New York.
"It's probably a little early in the earnings season to talk
about aggregate results but it's important to recognize that
earnings are growing and so higher prices are deserved."
Economic data showed initial claims for state unemployment
benefits in the latest week dropped 16,000 to a seasonally
adjusted 339,000 versus expectations for 351,000.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.5 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 42
points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 16 points.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc jumped 7.4 percent to
$19.56 after the iron ore and metallurgical coal miner posted
earnings that were much better than analysts' estimates after
the close on Wednesday.
Akamai Technologies Inc surged 17.8 percent to
$42.52 in premarket trading after the internet content delivery
company posted first-quarter earnings above Wall Street
estimates and forecast second-quarter results above analysts'
expectations late on Wednesday.
Qualcomm Inc lost 5.8 percent to $62.20 before the
opening bell after the mobile chipmaker forecast earnings below
expectations late Wednesday.
Companies expected to post earnings after the close include
Amazon.com Inc and Starbucks.
Verizon Communications Inc will be in focus after
sources told Reuters it has hired advisers to prepare a possible
$100 billion cash and stock bid to take full control of Verizon
Wireless from joint venture partner, Vodafone Group Plc.
Verizon shares gained 1.2 percent to $52.40 in premarket.
Earnings season has been largely positive, with 68.4 percent
of S&P 500 companies that have reported results through
Wednesday morning beating expectations, according to Thomson
Reuters data through Tuesday morning. Since 1994, 63 percent
have surpassed estimates on average, while the beat rate is 67
percent for the past four quarters.
Analysts see earnings growth of 3.1 percent this quarter, up
from expectations of 1.5 percent at the start of the month.
Revenues, however, have been disappointing, with only 40.1
percent of 119 reported companies having topped expectations,
well short of the 62 percent average since 2002 and the 52
percent beat rate for the past four quarters.