U.S. futures rise on global optimism, earnings ahead; Dow Jones up 0.25%


Investing.com -

Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, after the World Bank raised its global growth forecast and as Tuesday's upbeat U.S. retail sales continued to support, as investors eyed the release of fresh earnings reports.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.25% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.22% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.36% increase.

Equity markets strengthened after the World Bank increased its global growth forecasts, predicting the world economy will expand 3.2% this year, compared to a previous projection of 3% and up from 2.4% in 2013.

U.S. equities were also boosted after the Commerce Department said Tuesday that U.S. retail sales rose 0.2% in December, while core retail sales, which excludes auto sales, rose 0.7%.

The tech sector was expected to be active, as Intel Corp. jumped 0.91% in pre-market trade after the chipmaker said it will delay opening a new factory in Arizona amid a slump in demand for personal-computer microprocessors.

Telecom companies were also likely to be in focus, amid reports T-Mobile US's pricing strategy is considered as a potential roadblock for a Sprint Corp. takeover attempt because U.S. regulators want to preserve a wireless company that offers subscribers lower rates.

Separately, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington decided in favor of Verizon on Tuesday, striking down the Federal Communications Commission's so-called net-neutrality rules. As a result, the carrier will be able to charge extra fees for speedier delivery of online content.

Following the news, Verizon shares climbed 0.89% in early trading.

Elsewhere, General Motors surged 2.97% in after-hour trade as the automaker said it will pay a dividend of 30 cents a share, making the first quarterly payment since July 2008, and appointed Chuck Stevens as the new chief financial officer.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included United Tech, Freeport-McMoRan, Norfolk Southern, and St. Jude Medical, all scheduled to report fourth-quarter results later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.54%, France's CAC 40 climbed 0.46%, Germany's DAX advanced 0.88%, while Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.30%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 0.49%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.50%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was torelease data on producer price inflation and a report on manufacturing activity in the New York region.

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