* GE profit hit by finance arm, but order demand grows
* Morgan Stanley earnings, revenue beat expectations
* China Q3 growth quickens to 7.8 pct on year
* Futures: Dow up 20 pts, S&P up 1.7 pt, Nasdaq up 13 pts
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, helped by gains in big companies like General Electric and Morgan Stanley following their results.
* General Electric Co said third-quarter profit and revenue fell, amid a shrinking finance business and negative effects of foreign currency. Still, the stock rose 2.7 percent in premarket trading as Wall Street looked beyond the slight decline in revenue and pointed to GE’s improving profit margins and growing order demand.
* Morgan Stanley reported a 50 percent rise in quarterly revenue as higher income from equities sales and trading offset a drop in its fixed-income business. Shares rose 3 percent in premarket trading.
* Data showed China’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, its quickest pace for the year, thanks largely to investment. Still, signs are emerging that the pickup in activity in the world’s second-biggest economy may lose some vigor.
* S&P 500 futures rose 1.7 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 rose 20 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 13 points.
* The gains come after S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday as investor confidence grew following a last-minute deal by U.S. lawmakers to avoid a debt default.
* U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo and New York Fed President William Dudley will speak at a Fed conference on resolution of systematically important banks in Washington. Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans is due to speak on the economy and monetary policy in Chicago, while Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein will speak about managing financial imbalances in Boston.
* European shares were up 0.3 percent, with broadly even gains for most of the region’s major bourses, leaving them on course for a weekly gain of 1.75 percent and hovering at their highest since mid-2008.