US stock index futures were flat as an unexpected jump in unemployment claims kept investors out of the way. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones industrial average are several points lower than their peaks in the overnight session. S&P 500 futures are equal. Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.1%.
Unemployment claims have unexpectedly risen to 419,000 in the past week, above economists’ estimates of 350,000 and more than 368,000 in the previous period, the labor ministry said on Thursday.
In the corporate world, the strong reporting season for second-quarter earnings continues. Shares of AT&T gained 1% after gains and earnings exceeded analysts’ forecasts.
American Airlines reported a profit for the second quarter, firing a series of five consecutive quarters with losses, thanks to the recovery of travel demand and state aid. Shares, which rose 8% this week, were down just under 1% in pre-trading.
So far, 15% of the S&P 500 has reported a profit, with 88% exceeding profit forecasts according to economists. Of the companies that reported, 84% exceeded revenue expectations.
The busy week of profits will continue on Thursday. D.R. Horton, Southwest Air, Abbott Labs and Union Pacific are among the names on the deck before the bell. Intel, Twitter, Snap and Capital One will release quarterly updates after the market closes.
Junior Trader Nikolay Nankov