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Pre-Market: Apple Surges After Beating Estimates; Jobless Claims Tick Higher

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Microsoft will report earnings after today's close.

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Stock futures were mixed on Thursday morning. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.80% to 15,981. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.33% to 1,879. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved significantly higher, rising 1.43% to 3,605.25.

Stocks

Shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose by as much as 8.62% in pre-market trading after the world's most valuable company beat earnings estimates yesterday. Apple reported iPhone sales surged after making the device available through China's largest mobile carrier, China Mobile Limited (NYSE:CHL). Apple also plans to increase its shareholder payout program by $30 billion.

(Read more: Apple Inc. Innovation Now Means Mimicking IBM)

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) made waves with its earnings too, reporting a 72% overall revenue growth year-on-year to $2.5 billion in Q1. Mobile ads bolstered the upward push, with 1.01 billion of Facebook's total 1.28 billion monthly active users accessing the platform through their mobile phones. Shares of Facebook were up 5.04% before the opening bell.

General Motors (NYSE:GM), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and UPS (NYSE:UPS) were among the numerous companies that reported earnings this morning. General Motors reported a lower profit in the first quarter thanks to its ignition-switch recall. Verizon reported a fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth of operating income and EPS. UPS missed estimates, as weather impacted first-quarter earnings. Shares of GM were up 3.08% in pre-market trading. Verizon rose 0.32%, while UPS fell 1.25%.

After the close, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) weighs in, with analysts expecting the software giant to report lower earnings per share and revenue. Mobile and cloud computing are expected to be growth drivers, however Microsoft's Windows franchise could weigh the company down. Shares of Microsoft were down nearly 1% in pre-market trading.

The FDA has announced its plans to regulate electronic cigarettes, which would see sales of the product banned for consumers under the age of 18. This could spell bad news for Lorillard (NYSE:LO), NJOY, and LOGIC Technology, which comprise an estimated 80% of the market. Shares of Lorillard were down 1.19% in pre-market trading.

The Economy

Initial jobless claims rose 24,000 to 329,000 last week, a small uptick in a recent downward trend since the middle of December 2013. Durable goods increased 2.6% in March to 234.8 billion following a 2.6% increase in February. The Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index will be released at 9:45 a.m. The EIA Natural Gas Inventory comes at 10:30 a.m. At 11:00 a.m., the Kansas City Fed will release its monthly manufacturing index. The results of the $29 billion 7-year note auction will arrive at 1:00 p.m. The Federal Reserve will release its balance sheet and the money supply at 4:30 p.m.

Global Markets

Asian stocks moved lower overnight following on an unexpected decline in US home sales yesterday. In China, labor unrest at Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings' (OTCMKTS:YUEIY) factories continued for a ninth day. Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) has moved some of its production away from Yue Yuen, which also makes footwear for Nike (NYSE:NKE), Puma (ETR:PUM), and Asics (OTCMKTS:ASCCF) among others.

In Europe, stocks rose alongside S&P 500 futures following Apple's and Facebook's strong earnings. Spain's 10-year bond fell for the first time in three-days, as the $7.7 billion debt sale satisfied demand. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that the ECB could begin broad-based asset-buying inflation if the eurozone does not improve. In Germany, business sentiment showed an unexpected turnaround in April, which showed Europe's largest economy remained strong despite ongoing turmoil in the Ukraine. Amidst continuing violence in the Ukraine, President Obama threatened Russia with sanctions if Russia did not work to ease tensions soon.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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