By Caitlin Ostroff 

U.S. stock futures rose as blue-chip companies reported earnings and investors awaited economic data that would indicate the state of consumer spending and the labor market.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 gained 0.5%. Contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.5%. Futures for the technology-heavy Nasdaq-100 were up 0.8%, indicating tech shares may recover some ground after the index fell 1.3% Wednesday.

Investors will be watching earnings to assess whether stocks can grind higher. Bank of America shares added 1.2% premarket after the bank reported that its profit doubled in the first three months of the year. UnitedHealth shares climbed 2% after the healthcare services company posted a larger profit and stronger revenue. BlackRock gained 1.1% after the asset manager reported that quarterly profit rose nearly 50%.

Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase posted record quarterly profit Wednesday.

An anticipated economic recovery has led some investors to buy shares of companies sensitive to a rebound, such as energy, travel and banks, which has helped send indexes to repeated record highs this year.

"We want to see that the 2021 numbers -- even the 2022 numbers -- are going to continue to look good," said Esty Dwek, head of global market strategy at Natixis Investment Solutions. "We want to see what guidance is going to be. For a lot of 2020, we had no guidance."

In premarket trading, newly listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase rose 8.2%. Shares rose as high as $429.54 during the stock's trading debut Wednesday and ended the session at $328.28.

Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 gauge added 0.4%. Gains were led by Bud beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev, which gained 4.1% after Barclays raised its price target on the stock. Shares in other alcoholic beverage makers were also higher, including Heineken and Johnnie Walker-maker Diageo.

The Russian ruble fell 1.4% against the dollar after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration would sanction Russia in response to its alleged election interference, widespread hacking campaign and other malign activity.

Major Asian stock indexes closed after a mixed performance. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.5%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged 0.4% lower. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4%.

U.S. retail sales -- a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online -- are out at 8:30 a.m. ET and are expected to have surged in March. Household incomes have benefited from recent fiscal stimulus measures that saw $1,400 checks hit some Americans' bank accounts.

Fresh data on the number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits will also be released at 8:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve has said that employment is one of the factors it is watching to determine when it could eventually lift interest rates.

In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked down to 1.620%, from 1.637% Wednesday.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 15, 2021 08:30 ET (12:30 GMT)

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