* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 17.5 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
April 20 U.S. stock index futures were higher on
Thursday, with the earnings season getting off to a strong start
and oil prices rebounding after steep losses a day earlier.
* However, mounting tensions between North Korea and the
United States and the looming French presidential elections are
keeping investors away from making risky bets.
* With Wall Street near record levels and worries over
President Donald Trump's ability to carry out his pro-growth
promises, investors are hoping first-quarter earnings will be
strong enough to justify pricey market valuations.
* Of the 57 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings through Wednesday morning, 75.4 percent have topped
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the 71
percent average for the past four quarters.
* Overall, profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to
have risen 10.8 percent in the quarter, the best since 2011.
* Key companies scheduled to report results on Thursday
include Dow component Visa, whose shares were up 1.4
percent at $90.99 in premarket trading, and toymaker Mattel
* A closely watched poll showed Centrist Emmanuel Macron
hung on to his lead as favorite to win France's presidential
election in a four-way race that is too close to call.
* Economic data due on Thursday includes weekly jobless
claims, which are expected to rise to 242,000 from 234,000. The
data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Oil prices regained some ground, after steep losses in the
previous session, as leading oil producers signaled a likely
extension of OPEC-led supply cuts beyond the middle of the year.
Still, bloated inventories continue to weigh.
* Qualcomm rose 2.6 percent to $54 after the
largest maker of chips used in smartphones, reported quarterly
revenue and profit that beat analysts' estimates.
* EBay fell 1.9 percent to $33.22 after the company
forecast second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts'
Futures snapshot at 6:19 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.2 percent,
with 22,778 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.28
percent, with 106,568 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.32
percent, on volume of 19,232 contracts.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)