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* Weekly jobless claims decrease more than expected
* eBay, PayPal jumps on upbeat quarterly earnings
* Qualcomm slips as chip supply constraints hold back sales
* Futures up: Dow 0.10%, S&P 0.19%, Nasdaq 0.41% (Adds comment, details; updates market prices)
Feb 4 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open higher on Thursday as investors looked to corporate earnings and signs of progress on a pandemic-relief package after data suggested that the labor market was stabilizing.
The Labor Department’s report showed 779,000 Americans filed new applications for unemployment benefits last week, lower than 812,000 in the prior week, as authorities started to loosen pandemic-related restrictions on businesses.
A report on Wednesday showed U.S. private payrolls rebounded more than expected in January. The government’s closely watched and comprehensive monthly employment report is due on Friday.
The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes closed slightly higher on Wednesday, with Alphabet Inc’s shares hitting a record high following strong quarterly results.
“You’re seeing a little bit of sort of calmness or consolidation after a big run-up a couple of days ago,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth Management in New York.
“The market is digesting earnings news and more importantly the focus is on what type of agreement can come out of Washington related to stimulus.”
All the three major indexes have bounced back sharply this week as investors monitored talks over the next round of fiscal stimulus and as a recent buying frenzy driven by social media appeared to stall following a bout of market volatility last week.
President Joe Biden said he would consider tighter limits on who would qualify for $1,400 checks, without compromising on the size of the payments, as the Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress pushed ahead on a maneuver to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support.
Videogame retailer GameStop Corp rose 1.5%, while cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc fell 1.8% in premarket trading ahead of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s meeting with financial regulators later in the day to discuss the recent market volatility.
Concerns over heightened stock market valuations, raging pandemic and new coronavirus variants have kept investors on edge with attention turning towards earnings outlook from corporate America to justify it.
U.S. companies are on track to post earnings growth for the fourth quarter of 2020, data from Refinitiv showed on Wednesday, which would defy expectations for profits to drop 10% due to the pandemic.
At 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 31 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.19%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 55.5 points, or 0.41%.
A pandemic-driven surge in online shopping during the holiday season helped e-commerce firm eBay Inc and payment platform PayPal Holdings Inc top quarterly earnings estimates. EBay shares jumped 9.4%, while PayPal gained 6.5%.
Qualcomm Inc fell 7.2% after the chipmaker said semiconductor supply constraints that have roiled the industry contributed to first-quarter sales that slightly missed Wall Street expectations. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)