April 10, 2013 / 11:26 AM / in 5 years

US STOCKS-Futures rise, China data sets positive tone

NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, with Wall Street set to extend gains a day after hitting fresh record highs, buoyed by encouraging data from China that bode well for recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

* Robust economic data from China set a positive tone early in the day as imports of key commodities rebounded in March, signaling domestic demand was picking up and would help drive the economy.

* With only 5 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, almost three-quarters of them have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. But quarterly profits are seen rising just 1.5 percent from a year ago, down from a January estimate of 4.3 percent.

* While investors are cautious of what the corporate earnings season will bring, declines in the U.S. equity market have been taken as buying opportunities throughout this year’s rally.

* The lowered expectations could make it easier for companies to beat analysts’ estimates and propel the market further. The Dow closed at a fresh record on Tuesday, while the broader S&P 500 is about half a percentage point away from its all-time high.

* Bed Bath and Beyond and Constellation Brands are among companies reporting results on Wednesday.

* S&P 500 futures rose 5 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 43 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11 points.

* The White House proposed a budget that sharply trims the deficit over three years by forcing millionaires to pay more in taxes and enacting spending cuts that replace the reductions that went into place last month. President Barack Obama is due to release his full budget at 11:15 am EDT (1515 GMT).

* Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent rate-setting meeting are due at 2:00 pm EDT. Investors will look for clues on whether Fed officials were warming to the idea of scaling back the central bank’s bond purchases.

* Hospital operator Health Management Associates Inc reduced its outlook for 2013 earnings and revenue, citing weak patient admissions in the first quarter of the year. The stock was down 11.8 percent at $11.10 in premarket trading.

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