US. futures higher; Intel, Twitter, AT&T, ECB decision, Bitcoin, and more


Stocks poised to extend gains amid a busy day for earnings

U.S. stocks futures are pointing to more gains for Wall Street on Thursday morning as the earnings season picks up pace today with companies including Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) AT&T (NYSE: T) and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) reporting results.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Domino’s Pizza (NYSE: DPZ), American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), Snap (NYSE: SNAP), and Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) will also publish their reports today.

As of 5:10 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow were marked 59 points, or 0.17% higher to 34,748.5.

S&P 500 futures added 5.62 points, or 0.13% to 4,356.12 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 22.25 points, or 0.15% to 14,850.

Jobless claims & housing data on tap

Today’s economic calendar focuses on weekly applications for employment benefits and June existing-home sales data.

Economists expect about 348,000 new unemployment filings for the week ended July 17, down from 360,000 last week. A significantly higher number could be considered positive because it would mean that more people lost their jobs, while the opposite is true if the count drops.

Existing home sales are expected to show activity quickening to an annualized pace of 5.93 million in June versus 5.8 million the previous month. A higher figure would be considered bullish.

Both jobless claims and existing home sales data are scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

ECB monetary policy decision eyed

Traders are also awaiting the European Central Bank to announce its latest monetary policy announcement later today.

It’s the first policy announcement that the ECB is making after increasing its inflation target to 2% earlier this month, and markets will want to know how this is going to affect its asset-buying program and interest rates.

Analysts say the central bank will likely adopt its forward guidance to signal a stronger commitment to monetary stimulus.

The ECB will announce its policy announcement at 7:45 a.m. ET, followed by President Christine Lagarde’s virtual press conference 45 minutes later.

Elon Musk says Tesla will “most likely” start accepting bitcoin as payment again

On the cryptocurrency front, Bitcoin was surging early Thursday following comments from Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk that the company would “most likely” resume accepting the digital coin as a mode of currency

Musk, who was speaking at a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation on Wednesday, said his company would resume accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment once the mining rate for it reaches 50% renewables.

The tech billionaire had announced in May that Tesla would no longer accept bitcoin as payment again, citing the environmental impact caused by cryptocurrency miners.

At the time of writing, bitcoin was changing hands at $31,878 a coin in New York.