Even though the overall market has been a mess, earnings seasons has assured day traders of ample opportunities elsewhere. This is making individual stocks preferred over the index futures as the place to be recently. Amazon.com (AMZN) was one of the big ones to release on Thursday evening. It missed revenue expectations and was down sharply afterhours. A great way to help narrow down the field is to check for the premarket gainers and losers, focusing upon the ones whose gaps are less than twice an average day's range. These will often have strong intraday trend moves and give you a short, but accurate focus list to kick off the day.
In other news on Thursday, the economic data was as mixed as the market. December's durable goods orders fell 2.5%. Initial jobless claims for last week hit a three-month high of 454,000... higher than anticipated. Continuing claims were up from 3.9 million to 3.99 million. Pending home sales, however, rose 2.0% when a decline of 0.5% had been expected.