Wall Street stocks were set for a higher open on Wednesday as optimism about corporate earnings offset concerns about an upcoming meeting of European leaders to tackle the region's debt crisis.
Prospects for a comprehensive deal to resolve the crisis at a summit on Wednesday looked dim, with deep disagreements on critical aspects, including how to give the region's bailout fund greater firepower.
If not for what was going on in Europe, this market would be running on all cylinders, said Mike Shea, a managing partner and trader at Direct Access Partners LLC in New York.
This market will not shrug off a lousy plan coming out of Europe. It will not shrug off any plan that is not fundamentally based in reality.
With corporate earnings in high gear, Boeing Co
S&P 500 futures rose 11.4 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 79 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 13.5 points.
European shares rose 0.7 percent in thin, choppy trade on Wednesday ahead of the meeting of regional leaders.
In other earnings news, Ford Motor Co
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc
In the latest economic data, demand for U.S. durable goods rose more than expected in September to post the largest increase in six months, even though orders for transportation equipment fell.
New home sales for September will be released by the Commerce Department at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists forecast a total of 300,000 annualized units, compared with 295,000 units in August.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)