Stock index futures were higher on Wednesday, setting the stage for a seventh straight day of gains after tech bellwether Intel Corp reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Intel also posted revenue that was above average analyst forecasts after the market close on Tuesday, allaying concerns about a slowdown in technology business spending. The stock, a Dow component, gained 6.1 percent to $22.30 in premarket trading.

Investors are scrutinizing early second-quarter corporate earnings reports for evidence that a recent market rally can be sustained. Intel's report, like that of Alcoa Inc on Monday, helped underpin a bullish outlook.

On the downside, Yum Brands Inc , which operates such fast food chains as Taco Bell, late Tuesday gave a full-year profit forecast that was below average analyst forecasts.

On Wednesday, S&P 500 futures rose 4.7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 32 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 15.25 points.

There are few corporate stalwarts on tap to release results on Wednesday, with Marriott International the sole S&P 500 company scheduled to report. Economic data includes monthly retail sales, which are expected to show sales fell for a second straight month in June, data which could potentially could undermine positive sentiment.

For Thursday and Friday, investors await earnings reports from leading corporations, including JPMorgan Chase & Co , General Electric Co and Google Inc .

In deal news, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nokia Siemens Networks is in talks to buy the telecom-equipment arm of Motorola Inc in a deal that could be worth $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion.

U.S. Senate Democrats on Tuesday appeared to nail down the votes needed to approve a historic overhaul of U.S. financial regulations and set up a final vote by the end of the week.

U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc edged 0.7 percent higher to $37.13 in premarket trading even as it delayed a critical test that will determine if it can close a cap on its ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Europe's top share index <.FTEU3> pared gains in morning trade, with banks losing ground, offsetting strength from technology stocks which were boosted by Intel's strong results.

U.S. stocks gained for a sixth straight day on Tuesday after Alcoa's results heartened investors who had fled to the sidelines on jitters about the sustainability of the economic recovery.