By Amy Caren Daniel
April 17 () - U.S. stock index futures inched higher on Wednesday, buoyed by upbeat economic data from China, but gains were capped by disappointing quarterly reports from Netflix and IBM.
China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.
Intel Corp , Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia Corp gained between 0.5% and 3.6%.
Qualcomm Inc jumped 5.2% after the company won a major victory in its legal dispute with Apple Inc that called for the iPhone to once again use Qualcomm modem chips.
Netflix Inc fell 1.1% after the video streaming service provider's weak forecast unnerved investors just as Hollywood's streaming video wars were set to intensify.
International Business Machines Corp declined 3.5% after reporting a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly revenue.
At 6:46 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 28 points, or 0.11%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21 points, or 0.27%.
With earnings season in full swing, analysts now expect first-quarter S&P 500 profits to have dropped 1.8% year-on-year, according to Refinitiv data. While a solid improvement over recent estimates, it would still mark the first earnings contraction since 2016.
Of the 42 S&P 500 companies that have posted so far, 81% have beaten consensus, compared with the 65% average beat rate going back to 1994.
PepsiCo Inc rose 2.1% after quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates on higher demand for its snacks, low-sugar sodas.
On the economic front, a Commerce Department report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show U.S. trade deficit widening to $53.5 billion in February.
The Federal Reserve issues its so-called Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET, a compendium of anecdotes on the health of the economy, drawn from the central bank's sources across the nation.
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