The Associated Press October 21, 2011, 8:59AM ET

US stock futures up after solid corporate earnings

Stock index futures rose Friday as big U.S. companies reported solid third-quarter earnings.

Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. said its profit rose 9 percent over last year, its ninth straight quarter of gains. Its results beat Wall Street's expectations. McDonald's shares surged 2.7 percent in early trading.

Industrial and financial conglomerate General Electric Co. said its net income rose 18 percent as its lending business continued to recover. Net income at software maker Microsoft Corp. rose 6 percent

Earnings at both companies were in line with analysts' expectations. Their revenue beat Wall Street estimates. GE shares fell 1.3 percent in pre-market trading.

Verizon Communications Inc. said its net income doubled from last year mainly because of pension adjustments. Its adjusted earnings was slightly more than analysts had expected.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 107 points, or 0.9 percent, to 11,579 at 8:26 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures gained 12, or 1 percent, to 1,222. Nasdaq 100 futures added 23, or 1 percent, to 2,324.

Major stock indexes are down this week, after rising for the previous two weeks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index took the biggest hit, falling 2.6 percent. The Dow is off 0.9 percent, the S&P 0.8.

Despite the week's losses, indexes are sharply above yearly lows reached on Oct. 3. The Dow is up 5.8 percent this month, the S&P 7.4 percent and the Nasdaq 7.6 percent.

Traders are monitoring Europe's efforts to solve the Greek debt crisis. Worries about a default by Greece have caused much of the market's volatility in recent months.

Overseas stock markets appeared give European leaders the benefit of the doubt that they will agree on a package of measures in time for a summit scheduled tentatively for Wednesday.

Traders had hoped for a plan from a summit this weekend. But talks between France and Germany this week have broken down repeatedly. They said yesterday that there will be no deal before a second summit next week. The two countries disagree about the size of losses that private banks should take on Greek debt that they own, among other issues.

The Stoxx 50, a broad measure of European shares, rose 1.8 percent. Major indexes in Germany and Italy added more than 2.3 percent.

Traders sold ultra-safe U.S. Treasury debt overnight as riskier investments rallied. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.20 percent from 2.18 percent late Thursday. Bond yields rise as demand for them falls and their prices decline. That signals traders are demanding a higher return in exchange for holding an investment seen as safe.

Stocks have been lifted at times this week by modestly better news about the U.S. economy. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits declined this week. Housing construction picked up last month, at least for apartment buildings. Inflation remains low.


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