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Futures up: Dow 0.26%, S&P 0.42%, Nasdaq 0.70%

April 27 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday as an upbeat forecast from Meta Platforms lifted social media stocks, with investors looking forward to big-ticket earnings and key economic data.

Meta Platforms Inc jumped 10.7% in premarket trading as it forecast quarterly revenue above analysts’ estimate, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that Artificial Intelligence was increasing traffic to Facebook and Instagram and boosting ad sales.

Shares of social media platforms Snap Inc and Pinterest Inc rose 3.4% and 2.8%, respectively.

Meta is the second best performer among the S&P 500 stocks with a 74% gain so far this year, next only to Nvidia Corp .

The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher on Wednesday after strong Microsoft Corp results boosted technology shares, but the S&P 500 and the Dow fell on lingering concerns about a weakening U.S. economy and the banking sector.

The estimated decline in first-quarter earnings is smaller than analysts had expected at the start of the month, with a host of tech names such as Microsoft and Alphabet reporting upbeat results this week.

Analysts expect first-quarter earnings to have fallen 3.2% year-over-year for S&P 500 companies versus a 5.1% decline forecast earlier, according to Refinitiv data on Wednesday.

Caterpillar Inc, Eli Lilly & Co, Merck & Co and Comcast Corp are among the companies set to report results before the opening bell in a busy day for earnings.

Amazon.com Inc and Intel are among the big names set to report after markets close.

At 06:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 88 points, or 0.26%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 17.25 points, or 0.42%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 90.25 points, or 0.7%.

Data at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) is expected to show the U.S. economy likely continued to grow at a solid clip in the first quarter on strong consumer spending, but momentum appears to have since waned as the effects of higher interest rates spread.

Another set of data is expected to show initial jobless claims rose to 248,000 for the week ended April 22, up from the 245,000 claims filed in the previous week.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday narrowly passed a bill to raise the government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling that includes sweeping spending cuts over the next decade. The bill is expected to get stalled in the Senate.

EBay Inc climbed 2.9% after the e-commerce company forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street projections as it benefits from its strategy of focusing on product categories including sneakers and watches.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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