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US Stock Futures Buoyed By Strong Earnings Data

Boeing exceeded analyst estimates, CAT posted a 29 percent jump in first-quarter profit, and Harley-Davidson announced a 20 percent jump in sales of motorcycles.

NEW YORK (AP) — Solid earnings reports lifted U.S. stock market futures Wednesday, after boosting stocks around the world.

Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 0.29 percent at 12,996. Standard & Poor's 500 futures are gaining 0.63 percent to 1,378.80 and Nasdaq 100 futures are up 2.02 percent at 2,685.75.

Nasdaq is getting a big boost from Apple Inc., whose second-quarter results topped Wall Street expectations as iPhone sales soared. Apple shares gained more than 10 percent in premarket trading, setting the stock up to resume trading above $600. Several analysts raised their price targets on the stock, with $800 becoming common.

Also turning in strong earnings reports was Boeing Co., which exceeded analyst estimates on the strength of commercial airplane sales. Caterpillar posted a 29 percent jump in first-quarter profit as U.S. construction firms replaced old gear and global mining companies purchased equipment. Harley-Davidson Inc. reported a 44 percent rise in profit on a 20 percent jump in sales of motorcycles and related products.

Delta Air Lines also posted a surprise profit for its typically weak first quarter on fuel hedges and other one-time gains.

Traders will have to balance out those results with news from the Commerce Department that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods plunged in March by the largest amount in three years, a sign manufacturing may slow.

Later Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference after policymakers wrap up their two-day meeting to set interest rates.

The string of quarterly reports also buoyed world markets.

In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 1.4 percent at 6,685 while France's CAC-40 added 1.9 percent to 3,229.

London's FTSE 100 rose 0.78 percent to 5,709, as news that the UK is officially in recession tempered gains.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent to close at 9,561.01, but South Korea's Kospi fell marginally to 1,961.98.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 20,646.29 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8 percent to 2,406.81.

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