US stock futures rise after solid tech earnings, Facebook up 9%

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes rose at the start of the overnight session Wednesd

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Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes rose at the start of the overnight session Wednesday evening as both Facebook and Microsoft rallied after each issued better-than-expected revenue projections in their earnings reports.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 25 points, implying an opening gain of about 65 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to modest gains to start Thursday's session.

Both Facebook and Microsoft equity climbed in after-hours trading Wednesday evening after each reported promising revenue figures despite the global coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook soared more than 10% in the overnight session after it reported that, after an initial "significant" pullback in advertising revenues in March thanks to Covid-19, it's seen sales stabilize in the first three weeks of April. It reported first-quarter per-share earnings of $1.71 and revenues of $17.74 billion.

Microsoft rose a more measured 3.1% in after-hours trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter sales growth of 15% thanks to growth in its cloud business. The software giant said in a statement that the disease "had minimal net impact on the total company revenue" in the three months ended March 31, but cautioned that "effects of COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in the financial results until future periods." 

The overnight moves followed a bounce in U.S. equities during normal trading hours on Wednesday that put the S&P 500 up more than 13% for the month and on track for its biggest one-month gain since 1974. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 532.31 points, or 2.2%, to 24,633.86 during Wednesday's session. The S&P 500 gained 2.66% to 2,939.51 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 3.57% higher at 8,914.71.

Investors cited developments at Gilead Sciences for the market's pop during Wednesday's session after the biotech company reported positive results from two tests that showed its drug remdesivir could be a Covid-19 treatment. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir shows a "clear-cut" positive effect when treating the virus. 

U.S. traders will on Thursday pore over the Labor Department's latest report on jobless claims. Another 3.5 million workers are expected to have filed for benefits last week, which would bring the total number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits over the last six weeks to about 30 million.

The Labor Department's prior jobless claims report — released April 23 — showed the number of Americans who had filed for unemployment insurance benefits over the previous five weeks was 26.45 million.

That number exceeded the 22.442 million positions added to the American economy since November 2009, when the U.S. economy began to add jobs back to the economy after the Great Recession.

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