US Stock Futures Signal Higher Open Amid Investor Optimism

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By Bhaskar Prasad | February 6, 2013 7:59 PM EST

The U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Wednesday as investors were optimistic that earnings reports from corporates will provide momentum to the economy that is tracing a recovery trajectory.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.13 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.12 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.14 percent.

Investors will continue to focus on earnings reports with Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE:MRO), Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE:RL), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE:PRU) and Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) expected to announce their quarterly results Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the U.S. stocks rose as investor sentiment turned positive amid encouraging economic indicators. According to the data released Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management,  non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, also known as the ISM Services PMI, which rates the relative level of business conditions, including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries and inventories, fell to 55.2 in January, down from 55.7 in December. Significantly, a level above 50 represents expansion in the industry.

Meanwhile, BP Plc (NYSE: BP) reported Tuesday that the company’s profit before tax dropped to $3.46 billion in the fourth quarter, from $11.12 billion in the same period the year earlier. Also, The Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) reported Tuesday that the company’s net income declined to $1.38 billion or $0.77 per share in the first quarter, from $1.46 billion or $0.80 per share in the same period last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.71 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 1.04 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.29 percent.

European markets fell Wednesday with London's FTSE 100 moving down 4.86 points, Germany's DAX 30 index dropping 11.37 points and France's CAC 40 declining 8.72 points.

Asian stock markets rose Wednesday as investor confidence was lifted amid hopes of stimulus measures announcement by policymakers in Japan aimed at reviving the economic growth momentum in the country. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 150.09 points, Japan’s Nikkei moved up 416.83 points and India’s Sensex gained 35.15 points. 

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