Stock Futures Rise Ahead of EU Summit

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a stronger open Wednesday as investors anticipated an announcement from European leaders regarding a comprehensive plan to contain the region's debt crisis.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 71 points, or 83 points above fair value, at 11,733. Futures for the S&P 500 were gaining 7 points, or 7 points above fair value, at 1232, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 13 points, or 3 points above fair value, at 2335.

Stocks plunged Tuesday after European Union finance ministers canceled a Wednesday meeting that was scheduled to take place ahead of the summit in Brussels, at which leaders are expected to unveil their solution for the eurozone.

The highly anticipated summit is going forward as planned, and headlines from the meeting will likely dictate trading during Wednesday's session. Key details of the plan include how steep banks' writedowns on Greek debt will be and how the eurozone rescue fund will be expanded.

In Europe, London's FTSE was ticking 0.1% higher, and Germany's DAX was inching up 0.2%. Overnight, Asian markets saw a mixed close. Japan's Nikkei Average slipped 0.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5%.

The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, was slipping 0.14%, and the euro was rising 0.67% against the greenback.

In the latest earnings news, Dow component Boeing ( BA) reported a third-quarter profit of $1.46 a share, compared with expectations for earnings of $1.10 a share. The company also hiked its year-end guidance to above consensus estimates. Shares were rising 4% to $66.28 ahead of the start of the trading session.

Ford ( F) said quarterly profits slipped on higher commodity prices and financial service weakness. The automaker reported a profit of 41 cents a share on sales of $33.1 billion, compared with the earnings of 44 cents a share on revenue of $29.9 billion that Wall Street had projected. The stock was shedding 0.2% to $12.41 during the premarket session

Sprint ( S) posted a smaller-than-expected third-quarter loss of 10 cents a share on revenue of $8.3 billion. Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 22 cents a share on sales of $8.4 billion. The stock was gaining 7% to $2.89 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell.

Wellpoint ( WLP), the largest health insurer based on membership exceeded analysts' profit expectations by 9 cents with earnings of $1.77 a share. The company also said it added 169,000 members in the quarter.

Shares of Amazon ( AMZN), were losing 13.1% to $197.50 in early trading after the company missed analysts' profit estimates by 10 cents and issued a disappointing outlook late Tuesday.

Chip maker Broadcom ( BRCM) also disappointed Wall Street with a weak fourth-quarter outlook late Tuesday, sending shares down 3.6% at $34.50 early Wednesday.

In other news, former director of Goldman Sachs ( GS) Rajat Gupta surrendered to the FBI Wednesday on criminal charges of leaking inside information to Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam.

In U.S. economic news, durable goods orders fell 0.8% in September, which was slightly lighter than the 1% drop that economists had expected. In August, orders dipped 0.1%. Excluding transportation, orders jumped 1.7%, exceeding expectations for an uptick of 0.5%.

At 10 a.m., September new-home sales are projected to climb to an annualized rate of 302,000 in September, compared with August's level of 295,000.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 18/32, diluting the yield to 2.175%.

In commodity markets, gold for December delivery was gaining $11.20 to trade at $1,711.60 an ounce, and the December crude oil contract was trading 51 cents higher at $93.68 a barrel.

-- Written by Melinda Peer in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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