* Tech results lift Nasdaq futures, Apple and Facebook rally
* Apple announces seven-for-one stock split
* Caterpillar gains after results, 3M down on light volume
* Futures up: Dow 31 pts, S&P 8.1 pts, Nasdaq 57 pts
(Adds corporate earnings, economic data)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 24 U.S. stock index futures were
higher on Thursday, with Nasdaq futures jumping more than 1
percent following a pair of blowout results from technology
stalwarts Apple and Facebook.
* Futures were also supported as a variety of bellwether
names, including Caterpillar Inc, General Motors
and Verizon Communications, rose following results.
* Apple Inc in particular will be in focus a day
after the most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization
posted revenue that far outpaced expectations, helped by strong
iPhone sales. It also approved another $30 billion stock buyback
plan, raised its dividend and authorized a seven-for-one stock
split. Shares rose 8.3 percent to $568.25 in heavy premarket
* Social media giant Facebook Inc posted a 72 percent
jump in first-quarter revenue, lifted by its mobile advertising
business. Shares rose 5 percent to $64.41 before the bell.
* Caterpillar Inc rose 4.2 percent to $107.70 in
premarket trading after reporting better-than-expected earnings
and raising its full-year profit view. Verizon
Communications Inc reported a 4.8 percent rise in
revenue, lifting shares 0.5 percent before the bell.
* 3M Co, which along with Caterpillar and Verizon is
a Dow component, reported first-quarter earnings and sales below
expectations. Shares fell 1.6 percent to $136 in light premarket
* Strong earnings have lifted the S&P 500 for six of the
past seven sessions, though companies have largely been beating
reduced forecasts. According to Thomson Reuters data, profits
are seen rising 1.6 percent this quarter, down from the 6.5
percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
* S&P 500 futures rose 8.1 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 31
points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 57 points.
* General Motors Co rose 3.1 percent to $35.46
following its results, while insurer Aetna Inc gained
5.5 percent to $72.70 on better-than-expected earnings.
* Of the 141 companies in the S&P 500 that posted results
through Wednesday morning, 65.2 percent have topped
expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent. On the
revenue side, 53.6 percent have exceeded forecasts, below the 61
percent long-term average.
* Zimmer Holdings Inc agreed to buy Biomet Inc
in a deal valued at about $13.35 billion to broaden
its portfolio of products that treat bone and joint-related
disorders. Shares of Zimmer rose 19 percent to $108.50 before
* In the latest economic data, jobless claims rose more than
expected in the latest week, while continued claims fell.
March durable goods rose more than expected.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)