NEW YORK -
Futures edged lower on Thursday a day after investors lauded the biggest gains this year for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500's move back above its 50-day moving average in a rally that has largely reversed a recent pullback in U.S. equities.
Stronger than expected earnings, most prominently from Apple Inc
"Despite a very shaky start to April the S&P is only down one-and-a-quarter percent through yesterday's close," said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. "It could actually be a flat month, which would be terrific if you think about where we stood three weeks ago."
S&P 500 futures fell 1.1 points but were just above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures took off 8 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 7 points.
Earnings season continues in full swing as Exxon Mobil Corp
The Labor Department release first-time claims for jobless benefits for at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists forecast a total of 375,000 new filings, compared with 386,000 in the prior week. Softness in recent U.S. data has worried investors concerned about a summer slowdown.
In another troubling sign from the euro zone, economic sentiment fell more than forecast in April, driven by more pessimistic industry and services sectors, according to data, as the region's economy sinks into recession.
European equity markets slipped into negative territory after the weaker euro zone data reignited concerns about the economy against a backdrop of mixed corporate earnings. The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> fell 0.2 percent. <.EU>
In other earnings news, Colgate-Palmolive Co
U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC had its best quarterly profit since its 2009 bankruptcy on strong sales in North America, and confirmed estimates of a profit of about $1.5 billion in 2012. Chrysler is managed by its majority owner Fiat SpA
Also on the economic front, the National Association of Realtors issues pending home sales for March at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). Economists expect a 1.0 percent rise, compared with a 0.5 percent drop in February.
(Reporting by Ed Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)