US STOCKS-Wall St to edge higher after earnings, data

Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:07am EDT

* CPI edges higher, Empire State manufacturing misses expectations

* Yahoo, Morgan Stanley rise after analyst upgrades

* Futures up: Dow 22 pts, S&P 2.75 pts, Nasdaq 6.75 pts (Adds data, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a modestly higher open on Tuesday as earnings from Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson helped overshadow a mixed bag of economic data.

* Coca-Cola Co advanced 2.8 percent to $39.80 in premarket trade after the soft drink maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as strong sales in China more than offset a drop in Europe and flat volumes in North America.

* Fellow Dow component Johnson & Johnson rose 2.5 percent to $99.56 before the opening bell after it posted quarterly earnings well above Wall Street expectations, as strong sales of new prescription drugs offset weak sales of consumer products, and slightly raised its full-year profit view.

* But futures pared gains slightly after a pair of economic reports. A gauge of manufacturing in New York state grew at a slower rate than the previous month and was below expectations in April. Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent in March, although inflation pressures remained generally benign.

* S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings are projected to have increased just 1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.

* Investors will be looking at the impact of harsh winter weather on first-quarter earnings, and signs of company optimism for the second-quarter.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 2.75 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 22 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.75 points.

* Markets kept an eye on geopolitical tensions. Kiev's ambassador to the United Nations said unrest in eastern Ukraine is a "concocted pretext" engineered by Russia to disrupt four-way talks on Ukraine due to take place on Thursday.

* Aaron's Inc, lost 4.8 percent to $29 before the opening bell after the rent-to-own furniture and electronics retailer said it had rejected a $2.3 billion takeover offer from a major shareholder and instead acquired a retail credit financing firm for about $700 million.

* Shares of Morgan Stanley gained 2.1 percent to $29.68 in premarket trading after Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral."

* Yahoo shares rose 1.8 percent to $34.05 in premarket trading after Macquarie raised the stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and raised its target price to $40 from $37.50.

* Barcode printer maker Zebra Technologies said it would buy Motorola Solutions's enterprise business, which makes rugged mobile computers, tablets and barcode scanners, for $3.45 billion in cash. Motorola Solutions shares climbed 3.5 percent and Zebra Tech added advanced 5.5 percent.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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