Stock futures pointed to a rise of more than 1 percent at the open on Wednesday after JPMorgan Chase & Co
JPMorgan, the first major U.S. bank to report quarterly earnings, said profit rose sharply as underwriting revenue at its investment bank offset deeper losses on credit cards and other consumer loans.
The bank's profit and a stronger outlook from chip maker Intel Corp late on Tuesday lifted futures and set the tone for a much-anticipated earnings season that many expect to underscore the stock market's seven-month rally and the prospects for economic recovery.
Third quarter results are on the whole better-than-expected in general, and it's taken some people by surprise, Anthony Conroy, head trader for BNY ConvergEX in New York. Now, you're starting to see not only decent earnings but a little bit of growth.
JPMorgan shares rose 4.2 percent to $47.56 in premarket trade and Intel shares added 4.3 percent to $21.38.
Underscoring optimism that the worst of the recession was over, a government report showed total sales at U.S. retailers fell by a less-than-expected 1.5 percent in September. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a 2.1 percent drop.
S&P 500 futures rose 15.30 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 rose 107 points, and Nasdaq futures rose 24.50 points.
Oil rose for a fifth straight day on Wednesday to a 2009 high above $75 a barrel before retreating slightly, boosted by a weak U.S. dollar and surprisingly strong trade data in China, the world's second-largest oil user.
The dollar tumbled to its lowest level in more than a year against the euro, hurt by persistent expectations for low U.S. interest rates as well as investor appetite for commodity currencies.
The Federal Reserve's minutes from its meeting of September 22-23 will be released at 2 p.m. with investors looking for signs of the Fed's thinking on the prospects for inflation.
Any hint at tightening monetary policy is certainly going to be scrutinized, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)