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Futures Mixed as Apple Gains, Yahoo Falls

U.S. stock index futures struggled to find direction ahead of the open Wednesday as investors braced for the next batch of corporate earnings.

Dow and S&P 500 futures were a shade below fair value while strong earnings from Apple pushed had the Nasdaq looking at a positive open.

After the bell earnings saw the tech bellwether join the growing list of companies with blowout numbers for the first quarter, sending its shares up around 5 percent in pre-market trading.

Yahoo and Seagate Technology also beat Street estimates with their latest numbers after the bell Tuesday. Yahoo fell 3.2 percent premarket as investors questioned the profitability of the firm's search business.

Elsewhere, McDonald's posted earnings of $1 a share, slightly ahead of estimates, while Morgan Stanley and Boeing also beat estimates. McDonald's shares fell nearly 1 percent premarket and Boeing gained nearly 1 percent, while Morgan Stanley continued the parade of big-bank estimates beats and jumped 3.5 perent.

Despite positive signs from corporate earnings, some investors are growing concerned that stocks can't continue to push higher.

Markets are in a "very dangerous situation" because they are over-extended, Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global, told CNBC. "I think we're very close to the end of this buying frenzy," he warned.

Investors have been buying on dips because there is still a lot of liquidity around and some have been making up for missing the rally, Gijsels added.

European markets were mixed, but technology and airline stocks were higher on the strong earnings. Asian stocks ended mostly higher, but Hong Kong and Singapore indexes fell.

Wednesday brings another heavy dose of quarterly reports, including: Abbott Labs, Boeing, Comerica, Quest Diagnostics, Freeport-McMoRan, Genzyme, KeyCorp, LabCorp, Lockheed Martin, Moody's, Altria, Ryder, AT&T, United Technologies, and Wells Fargo.

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XTG
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XCS
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CMA
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DGX
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FCX
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KEY
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LH
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LMT
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MCD
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MCO
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MO
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R
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T
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UTX
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WFC
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After the bell, earnings reports from Amgen, Citrix, eBay, E*Trade, Qualcomm, and Starbucks will be released, among others.

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EME
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CTXS
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EBAY
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ETFC
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QCOM
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SBUX
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The Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage applications bounced off three-month lows and gained 10.1 percent last week. The EIA will be out with the weekly crude oil inventory report at 10:30 am.

In other news: General Motorshas repaid in full the loans made by the U.S. and Canadian governments, as detailed by CEO Ed Whitacre in the Wall Street Journal.

European airports are slowly reopening, but it may take days to fully clear the backlog of stranded passengers. The IATA says so far, the disruptions caused by ash from the volcano in Iceland have cost the industry more than $1.7 billion.