Stock Futures Rise on China's Pledge to Europe


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were rising Wednesday after reports said China might invest in Europe's bailout funds.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 47 points, or 45.7 points above fair value, at 12,887. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 5.5 points, or 5.5 points above fair value, at 1353. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 12 points, or 13.4 points above fair value, at 2588.

Finance ministers in Europe continue to demand more from Greece before they release $170 billion more of bailout aid. The country is on track to receive further aid, although Greece's creditors canceled a meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels because of lack of assurance on whether Greece will stick an austerity plan passed this weekend. The ministers will hold a teleconference instead.

Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China has said that China may be able to help Europe through the central bank and its sovereign bailout fund, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Germany's DAX was up 1% while London's FTSE was up 0.2%. Japan's Nikkei Average settled up 2.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2.1%.

In U.S. economic data, the Empire State manufacturing index for February came in at 19.53, beating the expectation for 15, according to the consensus by Thomson Reuters, rising from 13.5 in January.

At 9:15 a.m., industrial production probably rose 0.1% in January, adding to a 0.4% in the previous month, while capacity utilization probably came in at a reading of 78.2 after 78.1 in the prior month.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Housing Builders releases its housing market index for February, which is expected to edge up to 26 after a reading of 25 in the prior month. The index registered at its best reading in four and a half years this January, stringing together four straight gains.

The Federal Reserve releases notes from its last open market committee meeting at 2 p.m. Investors will be looking for any signs of a third round of quantitative easing. Speculation that the Fed will introduce more stimulus may be underpinning some of this year's rally.

Stocks managed to recover late in the trading session Tuesday. The Dow rose 4 points and the S&P 500 edged lower by 1 point, after news that Greece's conservative party provided a letter assuring the European commission it would comply with the agreed-upon austerity measures.

In corporate news, food company Kellogg ( K) will be buying the Pringles brand from Procter & Gamble ( PG) for $2.7 billion after Diamond Foods' ( DMND) plans to buy the brand fell through days after the company announced that it was replacing its CEO and chief financial officer on the findings of serious accounting errors. Kellogg shares were gaining 2.9% to $51.75 in premarket trading. P&G shares were down 0.2% to $64.38. Diamond Food shares were adding 6.3% to $23.70.

Comcast ( CMCSA) the nation's biggest cable-television company and the majority owner of NBC Universal, reported fourth-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share on revenue of $15.04 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of 41 cents a share on revenue of $14.94 billion. The company also raised its dividend 44% to 65 cents a share and its board approved a share repurchase program of $6.5 billion. Shares were jumping 6.1% to $28.90 in premarket trading Wednesday.

Farm equipment maker Deere ( DE) reported first-quarter earnings of $532.9 million, or $1.30 a share, up from $513.7 million, or $1.20 a share, the same time last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of $1.24 a share. Shares were rising 1.1% to $90.02.

Warren Buffett's faith in IBM ( IBM) and Intel ( INTC) deepened during the last few months, with the Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) CEO raising his stake in both tech bellwethers. Intel shares were up 0.5% to $26.90 in premarket trading.

Zynga ( ZNGA), the developer of online games such as Farmville, topped Wall Street's earnings expectations in its first ever quarterly report as a public company. For the three months ended Dec. 31, Zynga reported non-GAAP earnings of $37.2 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenue of $311.2 million. Analysts were expecting profit of 3 cents a share on revenue of $301.1 million. Zynga sees non-GAAP earnings of 24 to 28 cents a share for fiscal 2012, above the current consensus view of 22 cents.

Talks between Yahoo! ( YHOO) and China's Alibaba over Yahoo!'s Asian assets have hit an impasse, Reuters reported Wednesday, throwing plans for a $17 billion tax-free asset swap into question. AllThingsD reported Tuesday that the deal between Yahoo! and Alibaba looks to be dead. Meanwhile, Third Point's Daniel Loeb on Tuesday sought to install his own slate of directors on Yahoo!'s board.

March oil futures were up 80 cents to $101.54 a barrel. In other commodities, April gold futures were up $9.80 to $1727.50 an ounce.

The dollar index was down 0.14%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 1/32, pushing the yield to 1.94%.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.

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