US STOCKS-Futures up on cautious optimism of Washington deal
* U.S. lawmakers begin last-ditch effort on debt ceiling
* Bank of America posts profit as loan-loss provisions drop
* About 6.6 percent of S&P 500 companies to report results
* Futures up: Dow 67 pts, S&P 6 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts
NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures gained on Wednesday amid cautious optimism that U.S. politicians would strike a last-minute deal to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt, an event that could roil markets and economies worldwide.
In another day of heavy earnings, 22 companies representing 6.6 percent of the S&P 500 index will report results, including IBM, American Express and eBay after the market close.
Bank of America Corp reported a third-quarter profit of $2.22 billion, compared with a loss a year earlier, as provisions for credit losses fell. The stock added 0.1 percent in premarket trading after rising more than 1 percent earlier.
Stanley Black & Decker Inc shares were down 9 percent in premarket trading after the tool-maker lowered its guidance for the year amid weakening emerging markets and as the U.S. government shutdown has hurt organic growth.
BlackRock Inc, the world's largest money manager, said its third-quarter profit grew 15 percent, amid strong global demand from its retail and institutional clients. The stock was little changed in premarket trading.
"Earnings season has gotten off to a good start with the vast majority of companies either meeting or beating estimates, with an average surprise of 4.7 percent" so far, said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. market strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
He said 40 companies, representing about 12 percent of the S&P 500's market capitalization, have reported so far in the season.
"As expected, cyclical sectors have delivered better relative results than less economically sensitive names, with financials, industrials, discretionary, materials and technology all posting positive surprises," Golub said.
S&P 500 futures rose 6 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 rose 67 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9 points.
The U.S. Senate prepared for a last ditch effort Wednesday to avoid a historic lapse in the government's borrowing authority, a breach that President Barack Obama has said could lead to default and deliver a damaging blow to the global economy.
After a day of stop-and-go negotiations, the top Democrat and Republican in the U.S. Senate were said to be close to agreeing on a proposal to raise the debt limit - and reopen the partially shuttered government - for consideration by the full Senate on Wednesday.
Markets were rattled after Fitch Ratings warned late Tuesday that it could cut the sovereign credit rating of the U.S. from AAA, citing the political brinkmanship over raising the federal debt ceiling.
Apple Inc shares may be in the spotlight following reports that the tech giant told manufacturers it will cut orders for its new iPhone 5C smartphone for the fourth quarter, according to a source familiar with the supply chain situation. The stock was little changed in premarket trading.
Shares of Yahoo may lure attention a day after the company reported third-quarter earnings that were slightly above forecasts by analyst. Yahoo shares were up 2.9 percent in premarket trading.