Stock index futures rose on Friday ahead of a European Union debt-crisis summit on the weekend that could go some way in removing one of the biggest overhangs for markets and allow investors to focus on earnings.
France and Germany said in a joint statement that European leaders would discuss a solution to the crisis on Sunday, but no decisions would be adopted before a second meeting to be held by Wednesday at the latest.
Our perspective is that as time progresses the markets are going to realize there is not going to be a quick resolution to Europe, and these 17 member states of the euro zone are going to make incremental progress, said Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York.
General Electric Co. third-quarter earnings rose 18 percent, meeting Wall Street's estimate, with profit up at its jet engine, healthcare equipment and railroad locomotive units, as well as the hefty GE Capital finance arm. The shares fell 1 percent to $16.47 in premarket trade.
Honeywell International Inc. shares rose 4 percent in premarket trade after it reported better-than-expected results and lifted its earnings outlook.
S&P 500 futures rose 11.3 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 added 85 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 24.5 points.
Recent gains have pushed the S&P 500 to the top end of its trading range at around 1,230-1,250 where it has struggled to make more headway. Many investors are looking for progress in Europe before looking to earnings to push equities higher.
According to Thomson Reuters data, of the 109 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings as of Thursday, 70 percent have topped analysts' expectations.
German business sentiment fell for the fourth month in a row in October, dropping to its lowest level since mid-2010 and compounding fears Europe's powerhouse economy is headed for a sharp slowdown.
European shares rose 1.7 percent on Friday on hopes decisions would emerge to resolve the region's debt crisis.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)