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Stocks rolled higher Thursday as quarterly results from






came in strong.

Index futures recently showed both the

S&P 500

and Nasdaq 100 trading a point above fair value. The 10-year Treasury bond fell 4/32 in price to yield 4.57%, while the dollar fel against the yen and euro.

Oil firmed after a two-day slide that lopped $2.50 off the front-month contract. March crude was recently rising 50 cents to $63.05 a barrel in electronic Nymex trading.

Overseas markets were higher behind Wednesday's 109-point surge on the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

. London's FTSE 100 was recently up 1.3% to 5798 while Germany's Xetra DAX was adding 1% to 5725. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 1% overnight to 16,440, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3% 5to 15,413.

Insurance company Aetna said fourth-quarter earnings rose 41% from last year to $423 million, or $1.42 a share, reflecting enrollment gains. Adjusted for items, Aetna earned $1.26 a share in the quarter, 3 cents better than expected. The company sees 2006 earnings of $5.42 to $5.48 a share, compared with the $5.46-a-share consensus.

Hotel operator

Marriott International's


fourth-quarter earnings rose 25% to $237 million, or $1.07 a share, beating estimates by 9 cents. The company guided first-quarter earnings as much as 8 cents above the consensus.

Insurance giant

American International


is expected for formalize an agreement Thursday under which it will pay $1.6 billion to settle government accounting allegations. It's one of the biggest corporate settlements ever.

Supermarket chain

Whole Foods


said first-quarter earnings rose 26% from last year to $58.3 million, or 40 cents a share. The results were a penny shy of estimates despite a $10 million sales beat.

News Corp.


earned $694 million, or 21 cents a share, in its second quarter, up from $386 million, or 13 cents a share, a year ago. The latest quarter profit beat Wall Street estimates by a penny.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here