US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher, boosted by sturdy results

Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:14am EDT

* Google shares jump in premarket, set to open at record high

* Morgan Stanley earnings, revenue beat expectations

* China third-quarter growth quickens to 7.8 pct on year

* Futures: Dow up 30 pts, S&P up 4.8 pts, Nasdaq up 18.25 pts

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for a higher open on Friday, helped by gains in big companies like Google Inc and Morgan Stanley following their results.

Among top gainers in premarket trading was Google Inc , which surged 9.2 percent to $969.50, a day after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results as the Internet search giant expanded its mobile and overseas businesses while keeping ad-rate declines in check. The stock was set to open at a record.

Morgan Stanley reported a 50 percent rise in quarterly revenue as higher income from equities sales and trading offset a drop in its fixed-income business. Shares rose 3 percent in premarket trading.

General Electric Co said third-quarter profit and revenue fell, amid a shrinking finance business and negative effects of foreign currency. Still, the stock rose 2.7 percent in premarket trading as Wall Street looked beyond the slight decline in revenue and pointed to GE's improving profit margins and growing order demand.

So far, 85 companies representing 25.8 percent of S&P 500's market capitalization have reported, with earnings beating estimates by an average of 4.2 percent.

"Surprises have been broad-based with all of the 9 sectors surpassing their forecasts," said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. market strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

Also boosting market sentiment, data showed third-quarter growth in China, the world's second-biggest economy, grew 7.8 percent from a year ago, its quickest pace for the year, thanks largely to investment.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.8 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 rose 30 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 18.25 points.

The gains come after S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday as investor confidence grew following a last-minute deal by U.S. lawmakers to avoid a debt default.

"The S&P 500 is right back at its all-time highs near 1,730, and that's the hurdle to clear," said Bryan Sapp, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A number of Federal Reserve officials are due to speak throughout the day, including U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo and New York Fed President William Dudley at a Fed conference on resolution of systematically important banks in Washington.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans is due to speak on the economy and monetary policy in Chicago, while Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein will speak about managing financial imbalances in Boston.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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