* 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
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 24 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
* 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
* 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.