US STOCKS-Futures edge higher, Apple to report results
* 3M gains premarket after profit rises
* Netflix slides on forecast
* Futures up: Dow 33 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 14.5 pts
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures crept higher on Tuesday after sharp losses in the previous session but continued concerns about Europe's debt crisis could mean gains will be slight.
The Dutch state successfully sold two bonds at an auction a day after the government collapsed in a crisis over budget cuts, but investors demanded a slightly higher risk premium for the long-dated bond as euro zone yields have edged higher.
"There is this persistent worry over the euro zone now," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. "It appears that the markets are trying to force once again the EU to take a more aggressive approach in terms of growth."
Results from Apple Inc after the close may be a stabilizing factor for the Nasdaq during the day. The results will be dissected after a share swoon raised concerns a gravity-defying rally was over. Apple is down 10 percent from its closing peak this year.
S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were 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 gained 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14.5 points.
The S&P 500 should hold near-term support at 1,340 during the current pullback before extending its rally again, according to Brown Brothers Harriman analysts. The index, which held at 1,340 during a pullback in early March, closed Monday at 1,366.94.
3M Co's profit rose 4 percent, helped by a strong performance in its industrial and transportation business and growth in the Americas. The stock was up 3.2 percent to $87.13 in light premarket trade.
Diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp's earnings topped expectations, helped by better-than-expected demand for residential heating and cooling systems in North America.
One-time market darling Netflix Inc projected slower subscriber growth this quarter for its key U.S. video-streaming service, sending shares down 15.4 percent to $86.16 in premarket trade.
A key European index rose 0.6 percent early Tuesday following the last session's losses, but gains could be fragile as fears over the euro zone debt situation persisted, with Spanish and Dutch debt auctions under the spotlight.
Texas Instruments Inc forecast second-quarter revenue growth above Wall Street estimates, signaling the end of a prolonged inventory-related decline in demand. Shares were up 3.6 percent to $33.05 early Tuesday.
Facebook Inc reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue slide in at least two years, a sign the social network's sizzling growth may be cooling as it prepares to go public.
On the macro front, investors awaited the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for February, due at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), and April consumer confidence and new home sales for March, both due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence measure should soften to 69.7 from 70.2, according to forecast.
Diversified manufacturer Crane Co posted higher profit, helped by growth at its aerospace and electronics and fluid handling segments.
Illumina Inc, which has fended off a hostile takeover bid from Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, reported higher-than-expected profit late Monday and maintained its full-year forecast.
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