By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures edged higher Thursday amid a wave of earnings and Hewlett-Packard's deal to buy Palm as the focus moved away from Europe's sovereign debt worries.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.7 points to 1,195.80 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9 points to 2,015.75. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 34 points.
U.S. stocks moderately rebounded on Wednesday after stronger earnings and the Fed reiterated economic conditions warrant leaving rates low for what's likely to be an extended period. That helped take the sting out of the third sovereign debt downgrade in Europe in two days as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5%.TODAY'S INTERNATIONAL MARKET STORIES
Global Dowâ¢ MarketWatch Topics: Greece â¢ Asia Markets | Europe Markets | LatAm Markets â¢ Canadian Markets | Israel Stocks | London â¢ U.S.: Market Snapshot | After Hours
Earnings â¢ Siemens raises outlook as profit jumps 54% â¢ Banco Santander posts upbeat profit â¢ ArcelorMittal returns to first-quarter profit â¢ BASF warns on recovery; profit beats estimates â¢ Unilever's first-quarter profit rises 33%/conga/story/misc/international.html 73636
"Looking ahead to today, weekly jobless claims in the U.S. should be the data focus and markets are looking for an 11,000 decline in initial claims," said Jim Reid, strategist with Deutsche Bank, in a note to investors. Jobless claims are expected at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
There were a number of earnings reports, particularly in the agrichemicals and household products sector.
Of the household goods giants, Unilever /quotes/comstock/13*!ul/quotes/nls/ul (UL 29.28, -0.39, -1.31%) /quotes/comstock/13*!un/quotes/nls/un (UN 29.81, -0.33, -1.09%) rose in premarket trade while Procter & Gamble /quotes/comstock/13*!pg/quotes/nls/pg (PG 63.17, +0.54, +0.87%) fell following their first-quarter reports, and Potash fell 2% after its first-quarter result.
Results from oil giant Exxon Mobil /quotes/comstock/13*!xom/quotes/nls/xom (XOM 69.19, +0.92, +1.35%) is on tap.
Palm /quotes/comstock/15*!palm/quotes/nls/palm (PALM 4.63, -0.02, -0.43%) shares surged 27% after Hewlett-Packard /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 53.28, +0.03, +0.06%) announced it will acquire the group in a cash deal worth $1.2 billion, which ends months of speculation about the handset maker. H-P shares weakened 0.1% in premarket trade. See more on deal
European markets rebounded on Thursday, as traders put corporate earnings in focus and moved sovereign debt worries to the backburner, at least for now. Debt markets were also calmer in the wake of recent upheaval.
Better-than-expected earnings from heavyweights across Europe such as Unilever and Siemens lifted stocks in the region, which have been battered in recent days. In Asia, stocks traded mixed with banking and metals stocks hurting the Australian market while strong earnings lifted some technology firms in Taiwan.
The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (CUR_EURUSD 1.3252, +0.0046, +0.3483%) took back a bit of ground against the dollar, trading up 0.5% at $1.3265, after a strong reading on a sentiment indicator for the euro zone.
Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid.