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Wall Street to open slightly higher as earnings season peaks

Wall Street looked set to open slightly higher on Thursday as investors looked for catalysts in quarterly earnings and economic data. The fourth-quarter earnings season has been largely upbeat, with combined earnings of S&P 500 companies esti...

Wall Street looked set to open slightly higher on Thursday as investors looked for catalysts in quarterly earnings and economic data.

The fourth-quarter earnings season has been largely upbeat, with combined earnings of S&P 500 companies estimated to have risen 8.3 percent, the highest in nine quarters.

However, Wall Street's reaction to corporate earnings has been muted as investors remain cautious given the recent run-up in the market and policy uncertainty under newly elected President Donald Trump.

"The inability for the market to rally or sell off in a meaningful fashion tells you that investors are in a wait-and-see mode," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Parks Investment in Florida.

The S&P 500 has not moved more than 1 percent in either direction since Dec. 7.

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"Investors are cautiously optimistic about the current environment. It's almost like a Goldilocks situation where it's neither too hot nor too cold," Sarhan said.

A report from the Labor Department showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 43-year low of 234,000 last week, pointing to tighter labor market conditions.

The dollar index was little changed for the second day, while gold was lower after hitting its highest level in nearly three months on Wednesday.

Oil prices were up about 0.8 percent, rising for the second straight day, supported by an unexpected draw in U.S. gasoline inventories.

Dow e-minis were up 29 points, or 0.14 percent at 8:31 a.m. ET (1331 GMT), with 17,256 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.11 percent, with 116,108 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.08 percent, on volume of 18,134 contracts.

Dow component Coca-Cola fell 2.1 percent in premarket trading after the beverage maker reported its seventh straight quarter of revenue decline.

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Twitter sank 10.6 percent after the microblogging website reported its slowest revenue growth since going public in 2013.

Viacom rose 4 percent following a quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations.

Regeneron slipped 1.2 percent to $349 after the drugmaker forecast slower-than-expected U.S. sales growth for its flagship eye drug in 2017.

CVS rose 2.2 percent after the pharmacy store chain reported a jump in quarterly revenue.

Activision Blizzard, News Corp and Nvidia are scheduled to report after markets close. 

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