U.S. stock index futures were higher ahead of the open Wednesday, following four straight sessions of modest gains on Wall Street, after Intel and JPMorgan Chase reported better-than-expected earnings.
Dow component Intel posted quarterly profit of 43 cents a share, beating estimates by five cents a share, while revenue for the chipmaker also beat consensus handily. That comes after the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq finished Tuesday trading at fresh multi-year highs.
Intel shares rose 4 percent in premarket trading.
JPMorgan Chase reported earnings of 74 cents per share that easily beat Wall Street expectations of 65 cents. Shares of the Wall Street titan and Dow component gained 1.8 percent premarket.
European shares were higher with technology stocks rising on the back of Intel’s earnings. Asian indexes also closed in the green with technology stocks getting a boost.
Also on the earnings front, Dow transportation component CSX beat estimates and saw quarterly earnings jump 22 percent.
In economic news, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker is expected to tell a West Virginia audience that the time is drawing nearer for the Fed to drop its "extended period" language where low interest rates are concerned. Lacker is due to speak at 11 am New York time.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will also speak as he takes the stage before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress at 10 am.
Several major economic reports will be released at 8:30 am. The March Consumer Price Index (CPI) is expected to edge higher by 0.1 percent, following an unchanged reading in February, with the core rate, which excludes food and energy prices, also up 0.1 percent. Analysts expect retail sales to have risen by 1.3 percent last month after a 0.3 percent increase in February.
Other numbers out Wednesday include the weekly look at mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association at 7 am, and the government's look at February business inventories. Consensus forecasts call for a 0.4 percent rise in inventories following an unchanged reading in January.
At 2 pm, the Fed is out with its Beige Book regional assessment of the nation's economy.
Elsewhere, shares of Nokia gained more than 2 percent premarket after Credit Suisse raised its price target for the telecomm in anticipation of stronger sales in 2010 and 2011.
Toyotais due to announce it will temporarily stop selling the Lexus GX 460 SUV, following the Consumer Reports test which showed an increased danger of rollover.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.