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Futures gain on upbeat earnings, euro zone data; AAPL soars

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 | 8:47 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures were higher Wednesday, lifted by a handful of better-than-expected earnings and upbeat euro zone data.

Apple jumped after the tech giant reported quarterly results that topped consensus. The company also announced that iPhone sales grew more than expected, helping to offset weak iPad sales. However, the company handed in current-quarter sales guidance that was below expectations.

Ford rallied after the U.S. automaker blew past expectations, thanks to strong pickup truck demand in North America and record profits in the Asia-Pacific region.

Boeing gained after the aerospace giant exceeded Wall Street expectations and lifted its full-year earnings forecast.

Meanwhile, fellow Dow component Caterpillar missed quarterly projections and cut its full-year outlook. CEO Doug Olberhelman said the company experienced a number of headwinds during the quarter, but that he expects improvement during the second half of the year.

Facebook, Qualcomm, Visa and Akamai are among notable companies slated to post results after the closing bell.

European shares were boosted by better-than-expected flash PMI (purchasing managers' index) data for the euro zone. Euro zone PMI rose to an 18-month high in July, according to data out on Wednesday. The number came in at 50.4 — above the 50-mark that divides expanding activity from contraction — compared to 48.7 in June. The euro traded higher after the news, hitting a one-month high.

"Encouraging news," Howard Archer, an economist at IHS Global Insight, said in a note. "With the euro zone purchasing managers surveys supportive to the view that the euro zone has finally stopped contracting and could very well eke out marginal growth over the second half of the year."

However, shares in Asia declined after HSBC's flash estimate of Chinese PMI fell to an 11-month low of 47.7 in July. The data fueled fears of further slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

(Read more: China's factory activity plunges to 11-month low)

Dell gained after founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake raised their bid to $13.75 a share in cash for the PC maker. The company said the special shareholder meeting will be delayed to Aug. 2 while it considers the new offer.

Also among techs, Google will make a product announcement at 12 p.m. ET, with speculation over a new Android operating system and tablet.

Weekly mortgage rates dropped last week for the first time in 2-1/2 months following reassuring comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, but demand for home loans still declined, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

New home sales for June is expected to be released at 10 am ET. Sales are forecast to rise to an annual rate of 482,000 last month from 476,000 in May, according to a Reuters survey.

The Treasury is scheduled to auction $35 billion in 5-year notes with the results available at 1 pm ET.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama will travel to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri, where he is expected to speak on the economy.

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

On Tap This Week:

WEDNESDAY: New home sales, oil inventories, 5-yr note auction; Earnings from Facebook, Qualcomm, Visa, Akamai, Baidu
THURSDAY: Durable goods orders, jobless claims, natural gas inventories, Kansas City Fed mfg index, 7-yr note auction, Fed balance sheet/money supply, weekly rail numbers, USDA food prices outlook; Earnings from Bristol-Myers, GM, 3M, Colcate-Palmolive, Credit Suisse, Sirius XM, Amazon.com, Gilead Sciences, Starbucks, Zynga
FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, AT&T Next debuts; Earnings from Tyco

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