Stock index futures up on China optimism; data, earnings eyed

RetailReuters

Stock index futures rose on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 may rebound from its worst five-day slide in five months, on optimism China's economy may be recovering and ahead of a flurry of economic data and corporate earnings.

* Procter & Gamble Co posted a quarterly profit and maintained its key earnings forecast for the year as the world's largest household products maker cut costs and narrowed its focus on key markets, products and countries.

Continue Reading Below

* Procter's smaller rival Colgate-Palmolive Co reported improved quarterly profit as the toothpaste and soap maker spent a bit more on advertising to entice shoppers after raising prices.

* Sprint Nextel Corp posted a wider loss in the third quarter as it spent heavily on a network upgrade and lost customers from its iDen network, which it is shutting down. Shares advanced 0.7 percent to $5.66 in premarket trading.

* A total of 56 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, including Apple , Amazon , ConocoPhillips and Eastman Chemical Co .

* The benchmark S&P index has shed 3.6 percent over the last five sessions, its worst performance since mid-May, and is down 3.9 percent from its closing high of September 14, amid weak earnings outlooks and top-line revenue misses by large multinational companies.

* Aetna Inc , the third-largest U.S. health insurer, reported a higher quarterly profit that beat expectations, saying it had reached its 2012 goal of 18.2 million members ahead of schedule and kept costs down.

* European stocks edged higher, led by miners, after China said factory output was set to accelerate, but profit warnings hit WPP and Daimler.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)