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Stocks were headed for another day of gains Thursday, with tech stocks aimed for a significant advance after Apple reported strong quarterly earnings.
Late Wednesday, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) reported an 83% jump in sales and said profit nearly doubled from a year earlier. Shares rose 4% in premarket trading.
Companies: Industrial conglomerate and Dow component General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) said first-quarter earnings rose 48% to $3.4 billion on revenue of $38.4 billion. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by a penny to 14 cents. GE shares rose 2% in premarket trading.
Economy: The Labor Department announced that jobless claims totaled 403,000 last week, which was stronger than the forecast, but had little impact on stock futures. Economists expected a drop to 390,000 from the prior week's revised figure of 416,000.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve releases its April activity index at 14:00 GMT. The index of industrial activity in the Philadelphia region is expected to drop to 33 from last month's 43.4.
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