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Stock Futures Point to Second Session of Gains

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were trading higher Wednesday as liquidity fears in China subsided after the country's central bank took some action to ease interest rates and investors continued to cheer a spate of better-than-expected U.S. data from Tuesday. The positive data was offsetting a worse-than-expected gross domestic product report Wednesday.

The People's Bank of China said in a statement Tuesday that it had injected liquidity into some financial institutions that required it to stabilize interbank lending rates and reiterated that it would ensure the proper regulation of banking system liquidity and stability of money market rates through short-term liquidity operations as well as its full-range of existing loan-facility tools.

Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 8 points, or 8.42 points above fair value, to 1,589.5. The gauge is still down so for this month though, off 2.62% since the beginning of June, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated a potential tapering of stimulus measures later this year if the economy shows strong signs of improvement. Major U.S. stock markets closed near session highs Tuesday as better-than-expected new-home sales and encouraging data on durable-goods orders bolstered the outlook for recovery in the world's largest economy.

The spate of upbeat data helped offset a worse-than-expected gross domestic product report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis Wednesday. Its third estimate on first-quarter gross domestic product was 1.8%, down from its prior estimate of an annualized rate of 2.4%. Economists were expecting the estimate to remain the same.

At 10 a.m., Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker are scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee. The hearing will be about the Dodd-Frank Act and the risk of new taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 53 points, or 63.69 points above fair value, to 14,743. Futures for the Nasdaq were adding 18 points, or 17.75 points above fair value, to 2,876.25.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) was gaining 1.16% to $51.30. The company said that Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Kay will be stepping down from his role as of July 31, but will continue to provided assistance to the company as part of a six month consulting agreement.

Microsoft (MSFT) was rising 0.98% to $34. The company is making the Windows 8.1 update free for download starting Wednesday, eight months since desktops, laptops and tablets with Windows 8 went on sale. The free update is expected to address some of the gripes people have with the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system.

BP (BP) was edging up 0.62% to $41.94. The British oil giant, placed full-page advertisements in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday to challenge what could be billions of dollars in settlement payouts to businesses following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

Apollo Group (APOL) was shedding 4.75% to $18.46 after the for-profit education provider reported worse-than-expected revenue and full-year revenue outlook as enrollments declined amid the increasing ability of not-for-profit colleges to grab student market share from the company.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. was rising 1.07% and the DAX in Germany was gaining 1.5%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng settled up 2.43%, and the Nikkei 225 in Japan finished down 1.04%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was advancing 20/32, lowering the yield to 2.536%. The dollar was rising 0.15% to $82.71 according to the U.S. dollar index.

August gold futures were plummeting $47.50 to $1,227.60 an ounce. August crude oil futures were down 50 cents to $94.82 a barrel.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>.

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