Futures Rise Sharply Amid Upbeat Earnings

Stock index futures rose sharply ahead of the open Wednesday after a series of solid earnings reports.

United Technologies and Eaton delivered earnings that showed global demand for products is on the rise. Both manufacturers raised their full-year earnings forecasts.

And AT&T delivered earnings of 57 cents a share, in line with expectations, which showed the wireless phone company continued to grow despite the loss of exclusive U.S. rights to Apple's iPhone. AT&T's first quarter net income rose to $3.4 billion from $2.5 billion a year ago.

But Wells Fargo fell despite a 51 percent jump in first-quarter income.

Several tech companies released earnings after the market closed on Tuesday. Intel's shares soared more than 6 percent after soundly beating forecasts with earnings of 59 cents a share on revenues of $12.85 billion, up from 43 cents on revenues of $10.3 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected Intel to post earnings of 46 cents on revenue of $11.59 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. At least six brokerages boosted their price target for the firm.

IBM and Yahoo also reported after the market closed. IBM slipped after reporting earnings better than forecasted, but the tech giant disappointed investors new business in its global services division fell.

Yahoo , however, jumped after beating forecastswith first-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, although that was down from 22 cents a year ago. Analysts had expected the search company to post earnings of 16 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

The parade of tech earnings continues later today, when Apple releases its results after the market closes amid media reports the company could start shipping its new iPhone in September.

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in the Wall Street Journal the company “gets it” and is changing.

The National Association of Realtors will release March existing home sales at 10 a.m. Weekly crude inventories are due at 10:30 am.

And in M&A news, power company AES said it would buy smaller rival DPL for $3.5 billion in cash, Reuters reported.

On Tap Next Week:

WEDNESDAY: Existing home sales, oil inventories; earnings from AmEx, Amgen, Apple, Qualcomm, Yum Brands after-the-bell.
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators, money supply, Citigroup shareholders meeting; earnings from DuPont, GE, McDonald's, Morgan Stanley, Travelers and Verizon before-the-bell and Advanced Micro and Capital One after-the-bell.
FRIDAY: Good Friday—All markets closed, banks open.

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