By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

Philip Morris, Blackstone, Visa among the earnings ahead

U.S. stock futures pointed to gains for Wall Street on Thursday, as oil prices rebounded from the sharpest loss in weeks.

Investors were looking ahead to a fresh batch of corporate results and economic data such as weekly jobless claims.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 40 points, or 0.2%, to 20,375, while S&P 500 futures gained 6.55 points, or 0.3%, to 2,340. Nasdaq-100 futures rose 17.50 points, or 0.3%, to 5,415.25.

Dragged south by losses for energy stocks and for International Business Machine Corp.(IBM), the Dow industrials fell 118.79 points to 20,404.49 on Wednesday, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-primed-to-edge-higher-as-earnings-stay-center-stage-2017-04-19) marking the lowest close for the blue-chip benchmark since Feb. 10.

The S&P 500 closed down 4.02 points to 2,338.17, but the Nasdaq Composite bucked the negative trend to finish up 0.2% to 5,863.03.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May were rising, up 0.7% at $50.79 a barrel. Prices were recovering after a surprise climb in U.S. gasoline supplies helped push prices to their biggest one-day loss in six weeks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-steadies-as-investors-await-eia-inventory-report-2017-04-19) on Wednesday. That decline dragged in the energy sector.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is likely to reach a deal to extend the group's production cuts into the latter half of 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-set-to-extend-output-deal-says-saudi-energy-minister-2017-04-20).

Economic front: "The trend of the market is down and is not likely to reverse until clarity of the underlying fear factors are put to rest," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for First Standard Financial, in emailed comments, referencing investor jitters over the impending French election, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"Today's macro and earnings could set the stage for a positive opening with little change in direction," he added.

Weekly jobless claims data is set for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, as is the Philly Fed index for April. A reading on leading indicators in March follows at 10 a.m. Eastern.

As for Federal Reserve speakers, Governor Jerome Powell is scheduled to talk about capital markets, growth and the economy of tomorrow at the Global Finance Forum in Washington D.C. at 8 a.m. Eastern.

Earnings roll out:

Shares of Philip Morris International Inc.(PM) fell 3% in premarket after the company fell short of earnings and first-quarter profit expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/philip-morris-shares-slump-after-earnings-miss-2017-04-20).

Foot Locker Inc.(FL) shares fell over 3% after the athletic apparel group issued a profit warning. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/foot-locker-shares-slide-after-profit-warning-2017-04-20)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/foot-locker-shares-slide-after-profit-warning-2017-04-20)Blackstone Group L.P.(BX) reported profit that nearly tripled, but missed expectations. Still, shares were up nearly 3% in premarket trading.

Verizon Communications Inc.(VZ) is still to come.

Visa Inc.(V) and Mattel Inc.(MAT) are due to report after the close.

EBay Inc.(EBAY) shares fell nearly 2% in premarket trade. The online retailer posted earnings and in-line guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ebay-stock-falls-2-after-quarterly-earnings-2017-04-19) for the new fiscal year late Wednesday.

Qualcomm Inc.(QCOM) shares gained 2.4% premarket after the chip designer beat earnings expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/qualcomm-gains-after-beating-earnings-expectations-despite-apple-legal-beef-2017-04-19).

Other markets: The Nikkei 225 Index rose for a fourth straight session, leading a recovery for Asia markets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-up-for-4th-straight-session-leading-asian-market-recovery-2017-04-19). European stocks were marginally higher, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unilever-shares-push-ftse-toward-first-win-in-5-days-2017-04-20) drifted south.

However, the French CAC 40 index rallied 1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/french-stocks-rise-ahead-of-european-peers-despite-election-worries-2017-04-20) after a Harris Interactive poll signaled a win for centrist Emmanuel Macron in Sunday's first-round presidential election. The euro shot to a three-week high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-hits-3-week-high-as-macron-holds-slim-lead-in-french-presidential-poll-2017-04-20) against the dollar of $1.0778.

Read:Here's how France's hotly contested election could spark market turmoil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-frances-hotly-contested-election-could-spark-market-turmoil-2017-04-19)

Gold prices posted modest losses.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 07:34 ET (11:34 GMT)

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