Stocks were poised for a higher open on Wednesday as solid earnings from technology giant Apple as well as financials Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo tempered growth worries.
Apple Inc gained 4.4 percent to $262.88 in premarket trade after an unusually upbeat revenue forecast calmed concerns that iPhone 4 antenna problems would dampen sales.
Apple was a bright spot after a series of disappointing revenue results, including ones from International Business Machines Corp and chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc
Futures extended gains after Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co posted quarterly results.
The Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo numbers were pretty good too because that counters some of the concern investors may have had with (results from) Goldman Sachs, Bank of America or Citigroup, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.
Apple is important because it tells me the consumer is not dead.
Investors have closely watched top-line numbers for signs of growth in the economy as recent data has pointed to a slowdown.
S&P 500 futures gained 7.1 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 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 15.75 points.
Morgan Stanley reported higher-than-expected second-quarter profit on Wednesday despite weak industry trends while Wells Fargo & Co , the fourth-largest U.S. bank, reported lower second-quarter profit, but losses on commercial and consumer loans declined from the first quarter.
Morgan Stanley climbed 3.8 percent to $26.18, while Wells Fargo rose 5.6 percent to $27.35 premarket.
Diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp reported a 13.7 percent rise in profit and raised its full-year forecast, saying demand and margins improved. Shares advanced 2.1 percent to $68.94 in light trade.
Fellow Dow component Coca-Cola Co gained 1.4 percent to $54 after the soft-drink maker reported higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by increased revenue and sales volume.
BP Plc denied a report its heavily criticized chief executive would soon leave as the company lined up $7 billion in asset sales to Apache Corp to help cover the cost of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Separately, Apache said it will sell 21 million common shares.
BP's U.S.-traded shares gained 3.8 percent to $36.55, while Apache slipped 1.1 percent to $87.32.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony before Congress at 2 p.m. EDT, may provide a fresh outlook on the health of the world's biggest economy as well as policy signals from the central bank.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)