Stock futures rose on Wednesday as a rush of stronger-than-expected profits from such blue chips as Intel, United Technologies and JPMorgan Chase reassured investors about the earnings outlook.
The tone was set late Tuesday when Intel and Yahoo Inc issued quarterly scorecards that topped most estimates and provided forecasts pointing to continued growth. Shares of both were higher in trading before Wednesday's market open.
The news after the close from Intel and Yahoo was pretty much universally good. The two were the standouts, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Intel's news probably means that a lot of numbers from the companies that Intel supplies also have the potential to be really good.
S&P 500 futures rose 10.40 points and were above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 80 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 19.25 points.
In economic news, investors will scrutinize a report before the opening bell on the Consumer Price Index for September for clues about inflation and the outlook for interest rates.
In addition, the government will report on U.S. housing starts for September. Both sets of data are due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT).
The profit news eased investors' worries about the effects of the late-summer credit crunch, which arose from the U.S. housing market downturn, and took some of the edge off concern over surging oil prices.
Shares of chip maker Intel, a Dow component, rose 4.5 percent in Europe, while Yahoo, an Internet media company, climbed 5.4 percent. The two posted their results after the close on Tuesday.
Intel posted a 43 percent rise in third-quarter profit on strong sales of microprocessors for notebook computers and it gave a better-than-expected outlook.
Yahoo's quarterly results showed a rebound in brand advertising, and the company gave a more optimistic outlook.
JPMorgan Chase & Co Inc said third-quarter profit rose despite a $1.3 billion write-down from its investment banking business, including sharp reductions in the value of leveraged loans.
Coca-Cola Co posted higher quarterly profit, helped by increased sales in international markets.
Diversified manufacturer United Technologies said quarterly net profit rose on strong demand from the aviation and commercial construction markets.
U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday after disappointing results from Wells Fargo & Co and other big banks, combined with soaring oil prices that stirred investor concerns about the earnings outlook.