* Obama urges $50 bln spending plan on infrastructure
* Deere shares rally, raises profit outlook
* Comcast to buy rest of NBC Universal stake from GE
* Futures up: Dow 19 pts, S&P 2.9 pts, Nasdaq 7.25 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Feb 13 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Wednesday, suggesting the market would continue a
recent advance that lifted benchmark indexes to multi-year
While the long-term trend in markets should remain positive,
some investors may take profit at current levels, analysts said,
with the S&P near its highest since November 2007. Recent daily
moves have been small and trading volume light as investors
search for fresh impetus to drive stocks higher.
Equities have been strong performers of late, buoyed largely
by healthy growth in corporate earnings, with the S&P 500
gaining 6.5 percent so far this year. The Dow is about 1 percent
from an all-time intraday high, reached in October 2007.
"This is a market that refuses to go down, and the trend
suggests that we'll not only hit a new high on the Dow, but move
well beyond it," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan
Capital in New York.
Sarhan noted that the S&P 500 was well over its 50-day
moving average of 1,460.92, which he said was a sign the market
"A light-volume pullback should be expected and embraced at
these levels," he said.
Industrial and construction shares will be in focus a day
after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address,
during which he called for a $50 billion spending plan to create
jobs by rebuilding degraded roads and bridges. He also backed
higher taxes for the wealthy.
Retail sales data for January is scheduled for release at
8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and are seen up 0.1 percent as consumer
paychecks shrank following a recent tax increase. Sales rose 0.5
percent in December.
Investors have cheered strength in recent company results,
even as economic data, including recent reads on gross domestic
product, have indicated some weakness.
Deere & Co jumped 2.1 percent to $95.99 in premarket
trading after the farm equipment maker reported results and
raised its full-year profit outlook.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.9 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 19
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 7.25 points.
Comcast Corp agreed late Tuesday to buy General
Electric Co's remaining 49 percent stake in NBC Universal
for $16.7 billion. Comcast jumped 8 percent to $42.10 in
premarket trading while Dow component GE was up 3.2 percent to
Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Marissa Mayer said
Tuesday the company's search partnership with Microsoft Corp
was not delivering the market share gains or the
revenue boost that it should.
Companies scheduled to report quarterly results on Wednesday
include MetLife Inc, Applied Materials and
Whole Foods Market.
According to the latest Thomson Reuters data, of 353
companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 70.3
percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent
average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters.
Fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated
to have risen 5.3 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9
percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
Also in economic news, business inventories are seen rising
0.3 percent in December, a repeat of the November increase. The
data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).
U.S. stocks closed modestly higher Tuesday as investors
awaited President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.