US STOCKS-Futures point to third day of gains on earnings

Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:58am EDT

* Netflix and Texas Instruments rally on results

* DuPont and Travelers raise quarterly dividends

* Chinese factory data raises growth concerns

* Dow up 69 pts, S&P up 6.4 pts, Nasdaq up 19.25 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Tuesday, indicating stocks could notch a third straight day of gains as strong earnings improved sentiment.

Nasdaq futures showed exceptional strength following results from Netflix and Texas Instruments, though positive indicators could be found across sectors, including a pair of Dow components.

Investors are looking ahead to Tuesday's data on U.S. March new home sales, which, according to economists, rose modestly from the previous month. The data is due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

Texas Instruments Inc late Monday reported strong results and said improving demand for its chips would lead to growth in the current quarter, sending shares up 0.6 percent to $35.01 before the opening bell.

Netflix Inc soared 24 percent to $216.15 in premarket trading after the company reported earnings that beat expectations and an impressive growth in subscribers. Upscale leather goods maker Coach Inc also reported earnings that topped expectations, sending shares up 12 percent to $56.75.

"Both Netflix and Coach have gotten really beaten down, so it isn't surprising to see them react so well right now," said Rick Fier, director of trading at Conifer Securities in New York. "We could see moves like this in energy and material names, which have also gotten oversold."

S&P 500 futures rose 6.4 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 added 69 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 19.25 points.

Chemicals maker DuPont reported adjusted first-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its quarterly dividend. Travelers Cos Inc, which like DuPont is a Dow component, also raised its quarterly dividend.

DuPont rose 10 cents before the bell while Travelers jumped 2.9 percent to $87.

Equities have steadily advanced in 2013, leading many analysts to call for a correction, although major indexes have rebounded off declines. Still, data pointing to weakness have raised questions about whether the rally will continue.

In China, data showing little growth in factory activity was the latest indicator that global growth may come under pressure. Last week other discouraging economic data from China contributed to a massive drop in commodity prices.

"The news from overseas has been negative recently, but some earnings have shown that recent declines here were really overdone," said Fier.

Investors will be watching the S&P's 50-day moving average of 1,544.96. If the index falls below that level, as it did last week, it could be another sign that the rally is stumbling. The index closed at 1,562.50 on Monday.

Earnings season has been largely positive, with more than 67 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported beating expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. Still, there have been a number of high-profile disappointments, including from IBM and General Electric Co.

Analysts see earnings growth of 2.1 percent this quarter, up from expectations of 1.5 percent at the start of the month. Apple Inc, Illinois Tool Works and AT&T Inc are due to report Tuesday.

U.S. stocks rose on Monday, rebounding from steep losses in the previous week. Microsoft Corp helped lift the Nasdaq as an activist investor took a stake in the company.

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