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Wall St to open flat as earnings roll in; jobless claims fall

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By Shivani Kumaresan and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open flat on Thursday as investors assessed earnings from U.S. airlines and AT&T, while data showed fewer Americans filed fresh claims for unemployment benefits last week.

Shares of American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) Group Inc and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) Co rose more than 2% each after the two airlines reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Shares of AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) jumped 4.5% after the company’s wireless subscriber additions trounced analysts’ estimates.

“The issue for investors in earnings season is whether you’ll start to see continued growth in earnings projections or whether you’ll start to get a flagging out as it seems like there is some inflation and disruption in the supply chain,” said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments, New Jersey.

“At these elevated levels you continue to need more good news to support higher stock prices.”

U.S. stock index futures briefly turned positive after initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 547,000 for the week ended April 17 compared to 586,000 in the prior week. The data suggested layoffs were subsiding and strengthened expectations for another month of blockbuster job growth in April.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed higher on Wednesday, recovering from a two-day decline, with the economically sensitive value stocks gaining about 1.1%.

Speedy vaccination rollouts in the United States has improved the pace of economic recovery, infused confidence among people and given a solid start to the first-quarter earnings season.The U.S. economy will grow at its fastest annual pace in decades this year and outperform most of its major peers, with the outlook upgraded sharply, but another COVID-19 surge was the biggest risk over the next three months, a Reuters poll showed.

At 8:43 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.5 points, or 0.01%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 6.5 points, or 0.05%.

Chipmaker Intel Corp (NASDAQ:INTC) is expected to post a drop in first-quarter revenue later in the day, with analysts looking forward to updates on its U.S. manufacturing plants and chips for automakers amid a global microchip supply shortage. Its shares rose 0.2% in premarket trading.

Wall St to open flat as earnings roll in; jobless claims fall

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