Stock index futures rose on Friday, as another batch of solid corporate results, including Microsoft and Ford, along with positive economic data in Europe eased fears about the strength of a recovery.
Microsoft Corp edged up 0.5 percent to $25.97 in premarket trading after easily beating expectations with a 48 percent rise in quarterly profit.
* Ford Motor Co climbed 3.6 percent to $12.53 after the automaker posted stronger-than-expected earnings and said it was on track to be profitable in 2010 with second half earnings lower than the first half.
You are getting more on the revenue side and earnings side to indicate a soft patch as opposed to double dip with the exception of housing and jobs growth. So some of the fear that was building into the market is coming off, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
Solid economic data in Europe also helped boost futures, as Britain's economy grew almost twice as fast as expected in the second quarter and German business sentiment leaped by a record margin in July.
The data cheered investors ahead of the European banking stress tests results due at noon EDT. In an effort to ease fears over the potential impact of the euro zone debt crisis on Europe's banking system, regulators assessed how 91 banks would cope with another downturn.
Earnings are coming in very, very well and economic data, at least overseas, came in strong. Now all we have to do is get through the stress tests this afternoon and break through this 1104, 1105 level on the S&P 500, and we could have a nice rally on our hands, added Mendelsohn. The S&P closed at 1093.67 on Thursday.
S&P 500 futures gained 4.2 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 advanced 42 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 10 points.
Verizon Communications Inc added 1.9 percent to $27.50 after posting a quarterly loss due to hefty severance charges and revenue declined even as its wireless venture added more new monthly-bill paying customers than analysts expected.
But shares of fellow Dow component McDonald's Corp slipped 2 percent to $70 after profits topped estimates.
Diversified U.S. manufacturer Honeywell International Inc recorded a 4 percent rise in profit and boosted its forecast, citing recovering demand for industrial products. Its shares advanced 1.2 percent to $43.18.
European shares edged up in Friday morning trade, extending a rally into a fourth day, as corporate earnings were well received and on cautious optimism over the bank stress tests.
Asian stocks rose Friday as strong profits from economic bellwethers such as Caterpillar and UPS tempered concerns about a global slowdown, while the euro steadied ahead of the bank stress tests.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)