NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a stronger open Wednesday as Washington neared an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and Apple ( AAPL) blew past estimates with third-quarter earnings of $7.79 a share. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 58 points, or 35 points above fair value at 12,565. Futures for the S&P 500 were higher by 7 points, or 5 points above fair value, at 1328, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 22 points, or 16 points above fair value. Stocks soared Tuesday as a jump in June housing starts, progress in U.S. debt talks and robust earnings from IBM ( IBM) and Coca-Cola ( KO) boosted market optimism. Late Tuesday, the
House of Representatives passed a Republican-supported bill to raise the debt ceiling to $16.7 trillion from its current cap of $14.3 trillion. The bill also includes discretionary spending limits of roughly $1 trillion for new budget authority and $1.22 trillion in outlays. Although the bill is unlikely to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate, markets were heartened by President Obama's support for a Senate plan that would cut $3.7 trillion from deficits over 10 years. Shares of Apple were gaining 5.8% to $398.65 the morning after the company soared past analysts' estimates for a third-quarter profit of $5.80 a share with third-quarter earnings of $7.79 a share. Strong iPhone and iPad sales helped boost revenue by more than 80% year over year to $28.57 billion, which easily topped expectations for third-quarter sales of $24.9 billion. In other earnings news, Dow component United Technologies ( UTX) topped analysts' projections by 4 cents with second-quarter earnings of $1.45 a share and raised its forecast for the year. The stock was adding 0.7% to $89.48 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. AMR Corp. ( AMR), parent company of American Airlines, blamed higher fuel prices for a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss. The company also announced the largest aircraft order in history, saying it will order a total of 460 narrow-body jets from both Boeing ( BA) and Airbus. AMR's stock was up 3.9% to $5.12 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. Boeing's stock was advancing 1.2% to $71.39. Shares of Yahoo! ( YHOO) were shedding 3.2% to $14.11 the morning after the Internet giant reported second-quarter earnings that topped analysts' expectations by a penny but revenue of $1.07 billion fell short of expectations for revenue of $1.12 billion. Riverbed Technologies ( RVBD) saw its stock drop 22.2% to $32.21 during premarket trading after the IT networking equipment company met expectations with a profit of 21 cents a share but missed revenue estimates . The company reported sales of $170.3 million, compared to the revenue of $172.9 million that analysts had projected. Deals news on Wednesday was also lifting futures. Cleaning products company Ecolab ( ECL) agreed to acquire water treatment company Nalco Holding ( NLC) in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. The total transaction value, including debt, is $8.1 billion. Nalco's stock was soaring 30.2% to $37.58 while shares of Ecolab were down 3% at $53.75. Cnooc ( CEO), one of China's three state-owned oil and gas producers, agreed to buy Canadian oil sands producer Opti Canada for $2.1 billion. Shares of Cnooc listed on the New York Stock Exchange were losing 4.7% to $223.88 in early trading. The FTSE in London was rising 1% and the DAX in Frankfurt was adding 0.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5% and Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.2%.
The National Association of Realtors will report on existing-home sales for June at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists expect sales to rise to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million from 4.81 million in May, according to Briefing.com.
Intel ( INTC) and eBay ( EBAY) are scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after Wednesday's closing bell. Analysts are projecting earnings of 51 cents a share and 46 cents a share, respectively. Intel's stock was gaining 0.9% to $23.27 ahead of Wednesday's trading session and shares of eBay were advancing 1.1% to $34.14. At 10:30 a.m., the Energy Information Administration will give its weekly reading on energy inventories. Analysts are anticipating a decline of 1.3 million barrels in crude oil supplies in the week ended July 15, according to a Platts poll. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles shed 5.18 million barrels last week. The August crude oil contract was gaining $1.06 to trade at $98.92 a barrel. Gold for August delivery was down by $16.80 at $1,584.30 an ounce. The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 8/32, lifting the yield to 2.915%. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.3%.
. -- Written by Melinda Peer in New York.