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Futures Gain Amid Global Economic Optimism

Futures gained Wednesday after finishing lower for the third-straight session as optimism about the global economy improved despite the continuing euro zone debt crisis.

China's economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter as the nation's GDP rose 9.5 percent from a year earlier, exceeding expectations for 9.4 percent, helped by roubust domestic consumption and investment.

Stocks sold off Tuesday after Moody's downgraded Ireland's rating to junk statusand said the country is likely to follow Greece in needing a second bailout.

Meanwhile, the minutes of the Federal Reserve's meeting in June also suggested some officials were prepared to take further monetary easing measures in order to stimulate the economy and appearing to take a wait-and-see stance on interest rates.

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is set to testify before the House of Representatives at 10am ET. One of the most likely subjects will be why the Fed’s stimulus measures to date have not been more effective in bringing down unemployment. (CNBC.com will live-stream this event.)

On the tech front, Apple gained after Citigroup raises its price target on the iPhone maker to $450 from $435. Meanwhile, China Telecom said it plans to offer the iPhone in China by year-end, the second operator to do so in the world's largest cell phone market.

ITG plunged after the financial technology firm said it plans to reduce costs by cutting jobs and reducing infrastructure to deal with weak institutional equity trading volumes.

ASML tumbled after the Dutch semiconductor firm said its customers are holding back on new orders as sales of computers and mobile phones slow, joining the latest list of chipmakers including Microchip Tech and Novellus , warning over weak consumer demand. Meanwhile, Citigroup cut its price target on Microchip to $36 from $40.

Electronic Arts said it is buying PopCap Gamesin a deal worth up to $1.3 billionas the video-game publisher tries to ramp up its social and casual games portfolio and better compete with Zynga according to a report from Reuters.

Netflix hiked monthly pricesfor customers who use both its mail and online services, a move that could steer users toward its growing streaming service.

Among earnings, Capital One slipped even after the credit-card provider posted larger-than-expected quarterly profit and said it would raise $2 billion via stock offering to fund the acquisition of ING's U.S. online bank.

Yum and Marriott are scheduled to release reports after-the-bell.

Gold prices climbed for an eight-consecutive session, hitting a record high of $1,578.50 an ounce, amid concerns over the ongoing euro zone crisis that prompted investors to flock to the precious metal as a safe-haven trade.

On the economic front, U.S. import prices fell for the first time in a yearin June as petroleum and food costs tumbled, according to the Labor Department, that suggested the commodity-driven spike in inflation was abating.

Overall import prices dropped 0.5 percent, after gaining 0.1 percent in May. Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to drop 0.6 percent last month. Import prices were up 13.6 percent in the 12 months through June.

And weekly mortgage applications fell last week for the fourth time, due to a decline in refinance demand even as interest rates tumbled, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

European shares edged up after Italian banks recovered some losses from worries over the euro zone debt crisis.

Coming Up This Week:

WEDNESDAY: Bernanke speaks, oil inventories, 10-yr note auction; Earnings from Yum Brands
THURSDAY: PPI, retail sales, jobless claims, business inventories, 30-yr bond auction, money supply, NPD video games sales; Earnings from JPMorgan and Google
FRIDAY: CPI, Empire state mfg survey, industrial production, consumer sentiment, credit card default rates reported, Dell shareholder mtg; Earnings from Citigroup and Mattel

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