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Market Snapshot: Stock-index futures tip higher on earnings optimism

Stock-index futures edged higher Thursday as investors continue to wade through a tide of corporate earnings, and keep an eye on U.S.-China trade talks and a long-running U.S. government shutdown amid worries over the health of the global economy.

What are indexes doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

YMH9, +0.13%

 were up 19 points, or 0.1%, at 24,570, while S&P 500 index futures

ESH9, +0.16%

 rose 3.25 points, or 0.1%, to 2,641.50. Nasdaq-100 futures

NQH9, +0.46%

 gained 31.5 points, or 0.5%, to 6,696.75.

Stocks ended a choppy trading session with modest gains Wednesday, with the Dow buoyed by a string of positive earnings from blue-chip firms, including International Business Machines Corp.

IBM, +8.46%

The Dow

DJIA, +0.70%

 ended the day up 171.14 points, or 0.7%, at 24,575.62, while the S&P 500

SPX, +0.22%

 finished 5.8 points higher at 2,638.70, a gain of 0.2%. The Nasdaq

COMP, +0.08%

 rose 5.41. points, or 0.1%, to close at 7,025.77.

What’s driving the market?

Earnings season is in full swing, with shares of Southwest Airlines

LUV, +0.95%

 up 1.9% in premarket action after delivering fourth-quarter results that topped expectations for profit and revenue.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

BMY, +0.48%

 are expected to be in focus after it said fourth-quarter revenue rose on sales of key drugs but also said Thursday it suffered another setback entering the market to treat newly diagnosed lung-cancer patients, withdrawing its application for U.S. approval of a combination of its Opdivo and Yervoy therapies because more data was needed.

Other earnings on tap for Thursday include American Airlines Group Inc.

AAL, -3.33%

and JetBlue Airways Corp.

JBLU, -0.75%

After the closing bell, results are expected from Intel Corp.

INTC, -0.68%

 and Starbucks Corp.

SBUX, +1.59%

The partial U.S. government shutdown continued on Thursday. The Senate was due to consider a pair of competing bills to reopen the government, though both were expected to come up short.

The European Central Bank was expected to leave policy unchanged, with the focus on ECB President Mario Draghi’s news conference and the bank’s assessment of risk to the eurozone economy’s outlook.

Read: All eyes on Mario Draghi as investors look to ECB to acknowledge risks to eurozone economy

The economic calendar features weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, purchasing managers index readings for January from Markit at 9:45 a.m. ET and leading economic indicators for December at 10 a.m. ET.

What are analysts saying?

“After a sharp recovery from their December lows, global equity markets are struggling for direction this week. If you’re in the bullish camp, the U.S. earning season may support your views…If you are on the other side of the camp, there is a lot of news supporting bearish views,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note. “Slowing global economic growth, the unresolved U.S.-China trade conflict, the U.S. government shutdown, and Brexit drama are all sources of uncertainty dragging at sentiment.”