April 25, 2007 / 10:18 AM / 13 years ago

Wall Street set for upbeat start, earnings flow

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked poised to gain later on Wednesday in a session packed with earnings from ConocoPhillips, Anheuser Busch, UPS and Apple among others.

A trader gives thumbs up to photographers as he walks off the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 24, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Blue chip stocks rose on Tuesday after IBM (IBM.N) boosted its dividend by a third and other major companies reported strong results.

But U.S. data showing the worst monthly fall in existing home sales in 17 years and flagging consumer confidence limited gains as investor fears deepened over the impact of the housing market slowdown on the wider economy.

Data later in the day include new home sales and durable goods orders.

U.S. June stock futures suggested Wall Street would rise modestly when trade begins later in the day.

After the bell on Tuesday, shares in Internet retailer Amazon.com (AMZN.O) rose over 9 percent after its quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates and this could likely help the broader market extend its rally.

“It’s one of the headline stocks that does tend to decide where the market goes,” said Jonathan Monk, senior portfolio manager for Aerion Fund Management.

“If you had to pick one reason, there’s a big banner headline there for earnings ... there’s a big line-up of companies reporting (today). You don’t really know what’s going to come out of them, but so far earnings have been pretty solid,” he said.

June Dow Jones DJM7 and S&P futures SPM7 were both up 0.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI on Tuesday ended up 34.54 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,953.94, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX eased 0.52 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 1,480.41 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC ended up 0.87 points, or 0.03 percent, at 2,524.54.

The tech sector could benefit from IBM, which on Tuesday boosted its dividend by a third and its shares rose 3.5 percent

The world’s largest computer services company also said it would buy back up to $15 billion of its shares.

June Nasdaq 100 futures NDM7 were up nearly 0.4 percent by mid-morning in Europe.

This session brings a slew of earnings including those from Conoco-Phillips, the second-largest U.S. oil refiner, United Parcel Service (UPS.N) and Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM.N) the second-largest U.S. homebuilder.

Investors will get a look at how consumer demand fared in the first quarter of the year with results from world number two soft drinks maker PepsiCo Inc PEP.N, top U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch (BUD.N) — the maker of Budweiser — and tech bellwether Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) the maker of the popular iPod portable music players.

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