US STOCKS-Futures higher ahead of earnings, home sales data

Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:21am EST

Related Topics

* Results from Boeing, Caterpillar on tap

* FOMC 2-day meeting ending, new home sales data awaited

* Obama to deliver State of the Union Wed night

* Futures up: Dow by 22 pts, S&P by 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 3.75

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday as investors awaited a new round of earnings reports and economic data as well as the outcome of a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting.

* The markets are also looking ahead to U.S. President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address, which will be delivered to Congress at 9 p.m. EST [0200 GMT]

* The Federal Open Market Committee concludes a two-day meeting at about 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT), with few policy shifts expected. Investors will look for clues on how long the Fed will keep in place ultra-low interest rates and its easy-money program. For details, see [ID:nN26106537]

* Investors will also watch for new home sales figures, due at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT). The data will come on the heels of weaker-than-expected housing reports from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes and the National Association of Realtors.

* The U.S. Senate moved Tuesday to clear the way to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman, setting a procedural vote for Thursday, signaling that the needed votes were secured. Uncertainty over Bernanke's reappointment has hung over stocks in recent sessions.

* Earnings season remains in full swing, with Dow components Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) scheduled to report.

* Earlier Wednesday, health insurer WellPoint Inc WLP.N reported quarterly profit fell on lower enrollment and higher medical costs, but results topped estimates. [ID:nN27156940]

* S&P 500 futures SPc1 rose 2.3 points and were modestly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures DJc1 gained 22 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 added 3.75 points.

* Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is expected to unveil its long-awaited tablet computer later Wednesday.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in prepared testimony at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, denied any role in disclosures about American International Group Inc's (AIG.N) payments to banks. Geithner also defended his decisions as New York Fed chief to pay full price to retire AIG credit default swaps.

* U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday on trepidation over churning political and regulatory developments, offsetting solid earnings and improved consumer confidence data. The S&P 500 .SPX closed 0.4 percent lower. (Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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