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Futures higher on upbeat earnings, S&P poised for record open

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 | 8:44 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures were higher Friday on the heels of some better-than-expected corporate earnings results.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 set a fresh intraday record, surpassing its previous high in September.

Among earnings, General Electric narrowly topped profit estimates and missed on revenue, but traders focused on a record backlog level, sending shares higher in pre-market trading.

Also, Morgan Stanley escaped the trading slowdown that has vexed some of its competitors and posted better-than-expected earnings that also sent its shares up more than 2 percent.

Google soared after the search-engine giant posted better-than-expected earnings.

So far, 85 S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results, with earnings topping expectations by an average of 4.2 percent, according to the latest data from Thomson Reuters.

A parade of Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak throughout the day including Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, New York Fed President William Dudley, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Fed Governor Jeremy Stein.

Trader Todd Horwitz, the author and founder of Averagejoeoptions.com, said he did not expect the Fed to start tapering its bond buying program for another year. That explained the move higher on stock markets despite a lackluster economy.

(Read more: Taper talk could be dead until next year)

"This free flow of money is going to continue..It's monopoly money, that's what we're playing with," he told CNBC. "The average guy can't get that money but the big guys can get all they want."

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee said the budget deal left an overhang of uncertainty for consumers. "We still don't have a long-term outlook," she said, warning that this will keep businesses and consumers on the sidelines.

Investors will listen carefully to comments by Fed policymakers in light of the focus on tapering. Jeffrey Lacker, Daniel Tarullo, William Dudley and Charles Evans are among Fed officials set to speak on Friday.

On the economic front, the Conference Board is scheduled to release its leading economic indicators index for September at 10 am ET.

And next week brings a deluge of data following delays due to the partial government shutdown. The closely-watched non-farm payrolls for September will be released on Tuesday.

Markets in Asia and Europe were also buoyed by the news that China's economy grew 7.8 percent in the third quarter. The yuan hit a record high for a fifth consecutive day against the weak U.S. dollar.

Lenovo, the world's largest PC maker, signed a non-disclosure agreement to review Blackberry's books.

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