* HP climbs after earnings, outlook
* German business morale jumps, fastest pace in over 2 years
* S&P on pace for first weekly loss of year
* Futures up: Dow 73 pts, S&P 8.2 pts, Nasdaq 14.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, indicating the S&P 500 would rebound after two days of losses, boosted by better-than-expected earnings from Hewlett-Packard and positive economic data from Europe.
The S&P 500 has dropped 1.9 percent over the past two sessions, its worst two-day drop since early November, putting the benchmark index on pace for its first weekly decline of the year. The retreat was triggered by minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting released earlier in the week which suggested stimulus measures may end earlier than thought.
Still, the index is up more than 5 percent for the year and has held the 1,500 support level.
“When you get a move like that, you are bound to see a pause and the Fed minutes is a good enough reason to at least reassess,” said Michael Marrale, head of research, sales and trading at ITG in New York.
“But if, in fact, things do heat up a bit (in the economy), ultimately we are going to see rates go higher and ultimately, that will take money out of bonds and into equities, which is a major backstop for equities.”
Hewlett-Packard Co climbed 5.1 percent to $17.97 in premarket trading after the top PC maker’s quarterly revenue and forecasts beat analysts’ expectations as it continued to cut costs under CEO Meg Whitman’s turnaround plan.
The German Ifo business climate indicator for February surged to 107.4, its best one-month rise in more than two years, boosting optimism after Thursday’s disappointing PMI data stoked concerns over the euro zone economy.
S&P 500 futures rose 8.2 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 73 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14.75 points.
Abercrombie & Fitch dipped 1 percent to $48.60 in premarket trading after the clothing retailer reported a drop in fourth-quarter comparable sales, even as the latest quarterly earnings topped estimates.
Insurer American International Group Inc posted fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations. Shares advanced 4.4 percent to $38.91 in premarket trading.
Marvell Technology Group Ltd rose 5.8 percent to $10.02 in premarket trading after the chipmaker forecast results this quarter that were largely above analysts’ expectations as it gained market share in the hard-disk drive and flash-storage businesses.
Darden Restaurants edged up 0.3 percent to $44.89 in premarket trading after the restaurant operator issued its third-quarter and 2013 outlook.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning, of 427 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 69.3 percent have exceeded analysts’ expectations, compared with 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 5.9 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.