Wall Street stocks were set for a higher open on Wednesday after JPMorgan Chase's earnings beat expectations and spurred bets that other banks' results will be strong.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
Bank stocks were boosted by JPMorgan Chase's results, sending the Financial Select Sector SPDR Funds
The market has recently been in a consolidation phase, waiting for the next driver, the next theme. JPMorgan results appear to have delivered this theme, said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York.
Sales at U.S. retailers rose slightly less than expected in March as rising gasoline prices drew spending away from other purchases and auto sales fell, a government report showed, pointing to slower consumer spending in the first quarter. Market reaction was relatively muted.
It does look like the consumer is hanging in there in the face of higher energy prices, said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at the Convergex Group in New York.
In Washington, President Barack Obama is due to present his vision for tackling the long-term U.S. deficit and debt in a speech in which he is expected to push for higher taxes for the rich and changes to government pension and healthcare plans.
The Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book of regional economic conditions at 2:00 p.m. (1800 GMT).
S&P 500 futures rose 9.3 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 gained 89 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 18.25 points.
On Tuesday, major indexes dropped about 1 percent on worries falling oil prices could set off a reversal in the high-flying energy sector, while Alcoa's revenue disappointed.
In corporate news, Deutsche Bank
French engineering group Schneider Electric
A person with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday Schneider had held early talks with Tyco about buying it. Tyco International shares were down 2.3 percent at $51.15 in premarket trade.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)