(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a higher open on the Wall Street buoyed by strong corporate earnings, led by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Mini Dow industrial average futures added 37.00 points to 12,996.00. The Nasdaq Futures gained 53.25 points to 2,685.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures advanced 8.70 points to 1,378.80.
On the economic front, durable goods orders for March dropped 4.2 percent, following a 1.9 percent rise in February. Excluding transportation, new orders dipped 1.1 percent. Economists expected a 2 percent rise in orders, and an increase of 0.6 percent, excluding transportation. At 12.30 pm ET, the Federal Reserve's policy statement will be released, with focus on interest rates. Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press conference at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks closed on a mixed note, following Monday's sharp losses, as investors digested mixed set of economic data and strong corporate earnings.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: (AAPL, CAT, BA, LLY, S, JNPR, CRAY, BIDU)
In corporate news, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) jumped 10 percent in premarket after reporting stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by strong sales of iPhones and iPads. EPS were $12.30 per share for the second quarter, compared with $6.40 per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue soared 59 percent to $39.2 billion. The company's iPhone sales soared 88 percent to 35.1 million units, and iPad sales surged 151 percent to 11.8 million units. However, the technology giant guided third-quarter below market expectations.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) lost 1.25 percent in premarket after the maker of earth-moving machinery quarterly revenue missed consensus. The company also earnings forecast that fell shy of market expectations. CAT expects sales in the developing countries will be lower than expected, with most of the weakness in China and Brazil.
Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) advanced 2.45 percent in premarket trading after aerospace giant boosted its 2012 earnings forecast following better-than-expected quarterly results, driven by strong commercial airplane deliveries. BA now expects EPS in the range of $4.15 to $4.35 for 2012.
Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) rose 1.35 percent in premarket after the company raised its full-year forecast following better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.