US STOCKS-Futures higher after Apple profit, outlook

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 21 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stock index futures
edged higher on Wednesday, lifted by solid earnings and a
strong outlook from technology giant Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ).

* Apple rose 3.4 percent to $260.51 in premarket trade
after an unusually upbeat revenue forecast calmed concerns that
iPhone 4 antenna problems would dampen sales. For details, see
[ID:nN2096579]

* Apple was a bright spot after a string of disappointing
revenue results, including ones from International Business
Machines Corp (IBM.N: ) and chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc
(TXN.N: ).

* Investors are closely watching top-line numbers for signs
of growth in the economy as recent data has signaled a
slowdown.

* “Apple broke the streak of companies who beat on earnings
but missed on revenues, and maybe you can gauge some optimism
from investors that maybe there is nothing structurally wrong
with the economy that wouldn’t allow companies to grow if the
products are right,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment
firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

* “Apple offered some hope that it is not an all-or-nothing
situation, that growth is possible.”

* S&P 500 futures (SPc1: ) gained 2.2 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 (DJc1: ) added 12
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures (NDc1: ) advanced 10.75 points.

* Diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp
(UTX.N: ) reported a 13.7 percent rise in profit and raised its
full-year forecast, saying demand and margins improved.

* Dow component Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: ) gained 1 percent to
$53.75 premarket after the soft-drink maker posted
second-quarter earnings. [ID:nASA00JGP]

* As earnings pour in, investors will monitor results from
financial bellwethers Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ) and Wells Fargo &
Co (WFC.N: ) as well as online auctioneer eBay Inc (EBAY.O: ).

* BP Plc (BP.L: )(BP.N: ) denied a report its heavily
criticized chief executive would soon leave as the company
lined up $7 billion in asset sales to Apache Corp (APA.N: ) to
help cover the cost of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Separately, Apache said it will sell 21 million shares of
common stock.[ID:nSGE66K02I]

* BP’s U.S.-traded shares gained 4 percent to $36.62.

* U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony
before Congress at 2 p.m. EDT [1800 GMT], may provide a fresh
outlook on the health of the world’s biggest economy as well as
policy signals from the central bank.

* European stocks climbed for the first time in a week on
Wednesday in a broad rally, with investors scooping up battered
banking shares on hopes the sector’s stress test results will
be reassuring. [ID:nLDE66K0RK]

* Asian stocks rose on Apple’s strong earnings and optimism
that China may roll back policy-tightening measures later this
year, while the euro firmed ahead of the euro zone bank stress
test results late in the week. [ID:nLDE66K09S]

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(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Futures higher after Apple profit, outlook