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Pre-Market Primer: Stocks Extend Gains as Earnings Roll In; Jobless Claims Sink

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Starbucks and Amazon are up this morning.

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Stocks are set to rally again today, boosted by strong blue chip corporate earnings and favorable jobless data.

United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS), the global economic bellwether transportation and logistics company, fell slightly in pre-market trading after announcing better-than-expected earnings, but a narrow miss on revenue. The company earned $1.08 per share, up from $1.00 a year earlier, on $13.43 billion in revenue. UPS also reaffirmed that full-year earnings will be between $4.80 and $5.06.

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), the world's largest oil company, announced earnings per share of $2.12 on revenue of $108.8 billion. The company's chemicals production business rose 62% and "favorable tax impacts" also helped the bottom line.

3M (NYSE:MMM) shares fell on a disappointing earnings report. Earnings per share of $1.61 missed estimates by $0.04. Shares fell 3% in the pre-market.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares fell 9% to $3.35 after forecasting in its earnings report yesterday that sales will be weaker than expected for the coming year.

After today's closing bell, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) will report earnings. Amazon is likely to report earnings of $0.07 per share, weighed by possible losses in China and continued investment and expansion. Wall Street expects Starbucks to post earnings of $0.48 per share as the company adds stores and the unemployment situation improves.

Reuters reports that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is getting ready to buy back Vodafone's (NASDAQ:VOD) 45% stake in Verizon Wireless and hiring bankers and lawyers to help. The shares of Verizon Wireless that Vodafone holds are worth about $100 billion.

In economic news, initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 16,000 to 339,000, the lowest level in six weeks. Economists expected claims to rise by 1,000 to 352,000.

Stock futures extended gains after the better-than-expected jobless claims report. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are up 0.38% at 14,670 and S&P (INDEXSP:.INX) futures rose 0.45% to 1,581.20. Futures on the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 0.55% to 2,839.50.

European shares declined this morning while Asian stocks advanced.

Britain officially avoided a triple-dip recession last quarter. An increase in government spending helped the UK expand by 0.3% in the first three months of the year after contracting 0.3% in the fourth quarter.

Spain's unemployment rate rose to 27.2% in the first quarter, an all-time record, from 26% in the previous quarter.

Italy's newly chosen Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, is in talks with Silvio Berlusconi's supporters to form a grand coalition in Parliament. He has expressed an interest in plans to change the country's austerity policies.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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