U.S. markets are set to open higher, buoyed by somewhat better-than-expected earnings. Late Wednesday, IBM (NYSE: IBM) posted a higher profit and boosted its earnings target for the year. EBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) also exceeded expectations, and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) offered guidance that was not as bad as feared.
Also yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke concluded his congressional testimony on the U.S. economic outlook without indicating when there might be a fresh round of quantitative easing.
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) offered a disappointing second-quarter report this morning. Also scheduled to report are Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV).
Data on weekly jobless claims, June durable-goods orders and June pending home sales are due out this morning.
Markets in Europe are higher today. U.K. stocks reached a two-week high on better-than-expect earnings from U.S. and European companies.
The FTSE 100 and CAC 40 were both up less than 1%, while the DAX was up about 1.2% to 6.770.
The German parliament is expected to approve the European Union’s bank aid package for Spain.
Spain saw demand weaken as it auctioned debt Thursday. The yield on the country’s 10-year government bond inched closer to 7%.
Asia stocks rose sharply Thursday as technology firms got a boost from U.S. corporate results. Shares of Chinese banks and insurance companies were strong performers as well.
The Nikkei 225 added 0.8%, while the Hang Seng was up 1.6% to 19,559.