Stock Futures Rise on Global Optimism, Boeing Earnings


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising Wednesday on an upbeat economic report out of China and optimism that there will be more evidence of a strengthening housing market.

The preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index jumped to 49.1 in October from 47.9 in September.

"The most recent Chinese macro does suggest that China has found a bottom, and it's economy is stabilizing," said Stephen Guilfoyle, U.S. economist at Meridian Equity Partners.

A batch of positive earnings reports from companies including Boeing ( BA) were also giving the markets a boost.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 47 points, or 50.47 points above fair value, at 13,088. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6.29 points, or 5.09 points above fair value, at 1413. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 12.50 points, or 12.88 points above fair value, at 2673.

The major U.S. equity averages plunged Tuesday after another round of poor quarterly numbers and lowered outlooks from U.S. companies deepened concerns about a widespread slowdown in the global economy.

"The breadth of earnings has remained rather soft since the beginning of the year, in the 1.9:1 area," said Wells Fargo Advisors' chief equity strategist Stuart Freeman and senior equity strategist Scott Wren in a note. "This ratio indicates relatively poor earnings breadth for the mid-cycle portion of an economic recovery. However, we think worldwide monetary stimulus this year in addition to a new round of quantitative easing from the U.S. Fed have yet to impact the global economy."

The Census Bureau is expected to report at 10 a.m. EDT that new-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 385,000 in September, from 373,000.

"We expect the September data to show a solid rise in U.S. new home sales," said Paul Diggle, economist at Capital Economics. "Low valuations combined with low mortgage rates have buoyed confidence amongst potential home buyers, and this is translating into stronger housing demand."

Also out at 10 a.m. is the Federal Housing Finance Agency's house price index for August.

The Federal Open Market Committee's rate decision is expected at 2:15 p.m. Economists generally aren't expecting any policy changes to be announced.

The FTSE in London was up 0.24% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.34%. The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed down 0.67% on Wednesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.31%.

December crude oil futures were up 14 cents at $86.81 a barrel. December gold futures were up 10 cents at $1,709.50 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 4/32, raising the yield to 1.778%. The dollar was up 0.01%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate earnings news, Boeing hiked its full-year outlook after booking third-quarter earnings of $1.35 a share, better than the average analyst estimate of $1.13 a share, as business heated up at its commercial airplanes and defense units.

Revenue came in at $20 billion versus the expected $20.03 billion.

Shares were up more than 2.5% in premarket trading Wednesday.

AT&T ( T) shares were trading sideways after the telecommunications giant posted third-quarter net income and revenue that were flat compared with the previous year as the company wrestled with inventory constraints of the new iPhone 5.

The company reported earnings per share of 63 cents on revenue of $31.46 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of 60 cents on revenue of $31.58 billion.

Dow Chemical ( DOW) posted a third-quarter net income decline of close to 40%, with sales falling 10% as the company felt the pain of the European debt crisis and slowdown in China.

The company missed top-line estimates but managed to beat earnings per share consensus estimates.

Dow Chemical said that it plans to cut about 2,400 jobs or 5% of the global work force, and shutter around 20 plants to reduce costs amid "persistently slow macroeconomic growth."

The company expects the actions to result in about $500 million of annual operating cost savings by the end of 2014.

Shares were higher by more than 5.5%.

Drug company Eli Lilly ( LLY) posted quarterly earnings and sales that missed estimates, weighed down by increased taxes and by Zyprexa patent expirations.

Shares were down nearly 3%.

Facebook ( FB), the social networking giant, posted third-quarter earnings that slightly beat Wall Street estimates and indicated it is making solid progress on a strategy to profitably transition users to mobile devices.

Shares were surging more than 24%.

Gilead Sciences ( GILD) raised product sales guidance Tuesday for the rest of 2012 and said demand was high for a new HIV medicine launched just two months ago. Earnings in the third quarter also topped Wall Street expectations.

Shares were gaining more than 4%.

Netflix ( NFLX), the streaming content and DVD rental company, said Tuesday it expects to increase its U.S. streaming subscriber base to a range of 26.4 million to 27.1 million in the fourth quarter, implying potential growth of 5.2% to 8% from its current base of 25.1 million, which came in at the low end of its outlook of 24.9 million to 25.7 million.

Shares were plunging more than 17%.

In other corporate news, SiriusXM Radio ( SIRI) said Tuesday that CEO Mel Karmazin plans to step down in February 2013.

Shares were down 1%.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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

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