* Ford, 3M rise after beating forecasts
* Futures up: Dow 40 pts, S&P 5.6 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts
* For up-to-the-minute market news see STXNEWS/US
(Updates with Ford, 3M earnings)
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, April 26 U.S. stocks index futures
rose on Tuesday after earnings from Ford Motor Co (F.N) and 3M
Co (MMM.N) beat analysts' forecasts on a big day for bellwether
Corporate earnings have been generally strong so far this
season, with around three-quarters of S&P 500 companies beating
analysts' forecasts, helping to push the Dow industrials up to
near three-year highs.
U.S. consumer confidence data for April, to be released
later on Tuesday, will be closely watched against a backdrop of
rising oil prices and stubbornly high unemployment, which
investors fear could hurt consumer spending.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners
in New York, said gains would likely be slight as investors
remain cautious before the Federal Reserve's two-day policy
meeting. The Fed will issue a statement and hold a press
conference on Wednesday.
"I think the market basically stays on hold until the FOMC
(Federal Open Market Committee meeting)," he said.
S&P 500 futures SPc1 added 5.6 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 DJc1 gained 40
points and Nasdaq 100 futures NDc1 rose 8.75 points.
Ford reported its best first-quarter profit in 13 years,
driven by strong sales in its home market and demand for more
fuel-efficient vehicles, sending its shares up 3 percent in
Industrial and consumer goods conglomerate 3M reported
higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by sales to
emerging markets, and raised its full-year profit forecast. The
company's shares rose 1.4 percent.
U.S. consumer confidence for April is due at 10 a.m. (1400
GMT). Economists see a slight uptick in the data over the
previous month, but investors are worried that rising oil
prices this year could start to dent confidence.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)