* Weekly jobless claims lowest since 1973
* Caterpillar falls after lower quarterly profit
* GM jumps after adjusted profit more than doubles
* Visa, AT&T and Amazon results expected after the bell
* Futures: Dow down 8 pts, S&P up 1.25 pts, Nasdaq up 6.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
July 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open little changed on Thursday after two days of losses as investors digested a raft of earnings reports amid data that showed weekly jobless numbers fell to their lowest since 1973.
The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level in more than 41-1/2 years, suggesting job growth remained solid despite slowing in June.
Caterpillar shares fell 2.73 percent to $77.65 in premarket trading after the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker reported a lower quarterly net profit as sales declined in key markets in a sluggish global economy.
“Companies such as Caterpillar is a litmus test for the global economy especially when the market is concerned about China’s economy,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
General Motors jumped 6.4 percent to $32.21 after its adjusted net income more than doubled in the second quarter.
On Wednesday, Wall Street declined as the technology sector fell on disappointing results from giants including Apple and Microsoft.
Corporate earnings will continue to drive the market with a host of big companies scheduled to report on Thursday.
Dow component Visa, Amazon and AT&T are expected after the close.
While markets remain near record highs, June-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to dip 1.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, less than the 3-percent decline expected at the start of July.
Of the companies that have reported so far, 70 percent beat earnings expectations, above the 63-percent average beat rate since 1994.
However, only 55 percent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61-percent average beat rate since 2002.
“Lack of revenue growth is definitely worrisome because at some point hiring is going to pick up and that will affect margins which will reduce financial engineering,” said Luschini.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.06 percent, with 107,411 contracts traded at 8:43 a.m. ET (1243 GMT). Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 6.25 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 16,416 contracts. Dow e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.04 percent, with 14,776 contracts changing hands.
SanDisk shares jumped 12.1 percent to $60.76 in premarket trading, a day after the data storage products maker reported a quarterly profit that was double of what analysts had expected.
Dow component American Express fell 1.6 percent to $77.75 despite posting a profit that beat expectations as a strong dollar continues to hurt companies with large overseas operations.
The dollar index was down 0.5 percent at $97.04 but had touched a four-month high earlier this week.
Cigna rose 5.6 percent to $159.56 after reports said U.S. health insurer Anthem was close to finalizing negotiations to acquire the company in a deal valued at roughly $48 billion. Anthem was up 2.5 percent at $159. (Editing by Don Sebastian)