US STOCKS-Futures edge higher with flood of earnings expected
* Durable goods data on tap
* P&G slips, Ford gains after earnings
* Futures up: Dow 16 pts, S&P 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 5.75 pts
NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose modestly on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may rise for a fourth straight day, as investors braced for the release of a slew of corporate earnings reports and durable goods data.
* Procter and Gamble Co slipped 1.9 percent to $81 in premarket trading after the world's largest household products maker posted third-quarter earnings.
* Eli Lilly and Co rose 1.2 percent to $59 in light premarket trading after the drugmaker reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings, helped by favorable taxes and higher sales of treatments for diabetes, depression and lung cancer.
* Ford Motors Co advanced 2.3 percent to $13.67 in premarket trading after the automaker reported its first-quarter earnings.
* According to Thomson Reuters data, 45 companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report results Wednesday, including Dow component Boeing Co, Qualcomm Inc and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
* Investors will eye the release of durable goods orders data at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists surveyed by Reuters expect a 2.8 percent drop in March orders compared with a 5.6 percent rise in February.
* Apple Inc shares slipped 0.2 percent to $405.31 after the iPad maker bowed Tuesday to investors' demands to share more of its $145 billion cash pile, while posting its first quarterly profit decline in more than a decade.
* S&P 500 futures rose 2.3 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 16 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.75 points.
* Earnings season has been largely positive, with more than 68.9 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far beating expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning. Since 1994, 63 percent have surpassed estimates on average, while the beat rate is 67 percent for the past four quarters.
* Analysts see earnings growth of 2.3 percent this quarter, up from expectations of 1.5 percent at the start of the month.
* OPKO Health Inc will buy Israel-based biopharmaceutical company Prolor Biotech Inc in an all-stock deal valued at $480 million to expand its portfolio of specialty drugs. OPKO shares dipped 3.8 percent to $6.79 in premarket trading.
* European shares advanced, building on the previous session's hefty gains, after the German Ifo survey came in well below forecasts, adding to expectations of more monetary easing.
* Asian shares advanced, tracking global equities higher on the back of solid U.S. corporate earnings.
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