Futures added to their gains Wednesday after demand for durable goods rose and following a handful of better-than-expected earnings. Investors also grew hopeful that EU leaders could strike an agreement on a lasting plan to tackle the euro zone debt crisis.
Futures got a further boost following news that Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament approved a motion to strengthen the EFSF via leveraging. The vote provides German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the mandate she needs to negotiate at a key euro summmit later tonight in Brussels.
On the economic front, demand for durable goods gained 1.7 percent in September, its largest increase in six months, according to the Commerce Department. Economists expected a gain of 0.4 percent.
Among earnings, Boeing rallied after the Dow component posted earnings that beat expectationsand also raised its full-year outlook.
Ford Motors posted results that exceeded Wall Street estimates, but gave no indication as to whether it would resume paying out a dividend.
And Sprint jumped after the wireless carrier posted a smaller quarterly loss and said revenue rose. However, the firm said it lost more subscribers than analysts expected.
Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips gained even after the oil giant
Amazon plunged after the online retail giant posted a far weaker than expected outlookfor the holiday season.
Visa is slated to post earnings after-the-bell tonight.
In technology news, Finnish cellphone maker Nokia unveiled its first Windows phones on Wednesday since striking a deal with Microsoft, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710. The top-end 800 comes with free navigation service and will retail at approximately 420 euros ($585.3), excluding taxes.
IBM is another stock to watch, following news that global sales chief Virginia Rometty will take over as CEO from Sam Palmisano in January.
Weekly mortgage applications gained last week, recovering some of the losses from the previous week as demand for purchases and refinancing picked up, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC—
On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY: New home sales, oil inventories, 5-yr note auction; Earnings from Sprint and Visa
THURSDAY: GDP, jobless claims, pending home sales index, 7-yr note auction, Motorola begins pre-orders for Droid Razr on Verizon; Earnings from AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers, ExxonMobil, P&G, Royal Dutch Shell, Aetna, Motorola Solutions, Time Warner Cable, AMD, Motorola Mobility, Gilead Sciences, Baidu and Electronic Arts
FRIDAY: Personal income & outlays, employment cost index, consumer sentiment; Earnings from Chevron and Merck