Stocks bear down on record highs

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U.S. stock futures pointed to a third straight day of gains as the major averages set their sights on all-time highs amid a flurry of earnings reports. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 78 points, or 0.22%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.2% and 0.18%, respectively. All three of the major averages on Wednesday closed within 0.6% of their respective record peaks.

In stocks, earnings reports continued to roll out.                                            

American Airlines Inc. earned a quarterly profit for the first time in six quarters, helped by a rebound in travel and more than $1 billion of federal support. 

Rival Southwest Airlines Co. said its quarterly loss narrowed and that it is “hopeful” to be profitable for the rest of the year as leisure travel picks up. The airline said it turned cash flow positive in June. 

CSX Corp.’s quarterly profit more than doubled as the railroad operator delivered 27% more freight than a year ago. 

Dominos Pizza, whose global sales rose 17.1%, announced a new $1 billion buyback plan.

AT&T Inc. reported strong wireless subscription additions, fueled by more customers switching to 5G phones. The company hiked both its full-year revenue and adjusted earnings per share outlooks.

D.R. Horton reported quarterly profit spiked 77% from a year ago as tight supplies led to record prices. The homebuilder raised its forecasts for 2021 revenue and home deliveries.

Chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc. posted strong quarterly results but warned the current quarter could disappoint.

On the economic front, 419,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 350,000 filings.

In deals, Visa Inc. agreed to buy U.K.-based cross-border payments provider Currencycloud at a valuation of 700 million pounds ($962 million). Visa has owned a stake in Currencycloud since last year. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 80 cents to $71.10 a barrel and gold fell $8.60 to $1,794.80 an ounce.

Overseas markets rallied across the board. 

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Germany’s DAX 30 and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.92% and 0.78%, respectively, ahead of the European Central Bank’s interest-rate decision. Elsewhere in the region, Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.13%.  

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.83% and China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.34%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was closed for holiday.