Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade, ahead of earnings from Walmart Inc. WMT and J. C. Penney Company, Inc. JCP. Housing starts report for July, data on initial jobless claims for the latest week and the Philadelphia Fed general conditions index for August will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 144 points to 25,331.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures traded rose 12.25 points to 2,833.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index climbed 47.75 points to 7,422.25.

Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures rose 0.17 percent to trade at $70.88 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures gained 0.01 percent to trade at $65.01 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 0.68 percent, STOXX Europe 600 Index climbing 0.41 percent and German DAX 30 index gaining 0.37 percent. The UK’s FTSE index was trading higher by 0.64 percent, while French CAC 40 Index rose 0.52 percent.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.05 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.82 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.66 percent and India’s BSE Sensex jumped 0.55 percent.

Broker Recommendation

Analysts at Jefferies downgraded AstraZeneca plc (ADR) AZN from Buy to Hold.

AstraZeneca shares fell 0.36 percent to $38.31 in pre-market trading.

Breaking News

  • Cisco Systems, Inc. CSCOreported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter and issued strong first-quarter earnings guidance.
  • Global Net Lease IncGNL reported a 4 million share common stock offering.
  • Excelero disclosed that it has received a strategic investment from Western Digital Corp WDC.
  • NetApp Inc. NTAPreported upbeat earnings for its first quarter on Wednesday.