Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade. Data on initial jobless claims for the latest week and import prices for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari is set to speak in Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 110 points to 24,277.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures rose 13 points to 2,654.00. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index gained 37.50 points to 6,630.25.

Oil prices traded lower as Brent crude futures fell 0.36 percent to trade at $71.80 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures fell 0.18 percent to trade at $66.70 a barrel. The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is schedule for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.


A Peek Into Global Markets

European markets were higher today, with the Spanish Ibex Index rising 0.13 percent, STOXX Europe 600 Index climbing 0.32 percent and German DAX 30 index gaining 0.50 percent. The UK’s FTSE index was trading higher by 0.01 percent, while French CAC 40 Index rose 0.32 percent.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.49 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.55 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.56 percent and India’s BSE Sensex rose 0.47 percent.

Broker Recommendation

Analysts at KeyBanc downgraded J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. JBHT from Overweight to Sector Weight.

JB Hunt shares rose 1.49 percent to close at $113.09 on Wednesday.

Breaking news

  • Delta Air Lines, Inc.DAL reported better-than-expected profit for its first quarter on Thursday.
  • Rite Aid Corporation RADreported upbeat earnings for its fourth quarter, while revenue missed estimates.
  • BlackRock, Inc.BLK posted stronger-than-expected profit for its first quarter.
  • Bellicum Pharmaceuticals IncBLCM disclosed that the FDA has lifted its hold on BPX-501 study.