(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher opening on the Wall Street as investors weighed quarterly results and outlook from bellwether Alcoa Inc. (AA).
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 24 points to 13,290. The Nasdaq futures added 1.50 points to 2,715.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 1.70 points to 1,454.
New York-based Alcoa's results are eyed closely as it usually is the first Dow component to report earnings, and investors often watch AA's results to gauge how earnings may fare for other companies. Moreover, the results always impact the broader market, including index futures and ETFs.
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There are no major U.S. economic data due to be released on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended in red as investors remained cautious before the start of the corporate-earnings season.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AA, CLWR, APOL, STZ, STX, GPN, WDFC, HELE
In corporate news, Alcoa (AA) rose 1.76 percent in premarket after the largest U.S. producer of aluminum reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue. The company, which named William Oplinger its CFO, also forecast global aluminum demand growth of 7 percent from 6 percent in 2012.
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Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR) surged 6.85 percent in premarket after the provider of fourth generation (4G) wireless broadband services announced an unsolicited buyout proposal of $3.30 per share from DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) that topped Sprint Nextel Corp.'s (NYSE: S) $2.97 a share offer last month.
Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) advanced 3.77 percent in premarket after the premium wine company lifted its earnings guidance for fiscal 2013 following stronger-than-expected third-quarter results.
Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) plunged 8.83 percent in premarket after the private education provider reported a drop in first quarter adjusted earnings due to lower enrollment and the company narrowed its full year revenue forecast.
Seagate Technology Plc (NASDAQ: STX) may be in focus after the Ireland-based maker of hard disk drives raised its revenue forecast for the second quarter.
Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) posted better-than-expected results for the second quarter and the payments processor announced an additional $150 million share repurchase program.
Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ: HELE) posted a rise in earnings and sales for the third quarter amid improvement of margins, though the consumer products company reduced its sales forecast for the full year. Earnings topped market expectations, while sales missed consensus.
WD-40 Co. (NASDAQ: WDFC) may be active after the consumer products company reported higher quarterly earnings and sales that topped Wall Street projections amid expansion of margins.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX adding 0.10 percent to trade at 7,704.51. France's CAC40 inched up 0.01 percent to trade at 3,706.75. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.54 percent to trade at 6,086.02.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dipped 0.03 percent to close at 2,275.34. Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.67 percent to finish at 10,578.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.46 percent to end at 23,218.47. India's BSE Sensex ended at 19,666.59, down 0.38 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures advanced 0.04 percent to $93.19 per barrel. Gold futures rose 0.02 percent to $1,662.40 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.20 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3055, and the British pound dropped 0.31 percent to 1.6007. The dollar gained 0.57 percent against the Japanese yen to 87.5500.