Futures Climb on Earnings, Data

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Strong earnings from two corporate heavyweights, combined with a better-than-expected report on durable goods orders, sent futures jumping ahead of a summit of European policymakers later in the day.

Today's Markets

As of 8:34 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 75 points to 11,736, S&P 500 futures climbed 8 points to 1,233 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 15.5 points to 3,338.

Aircraft giant Boeing unveiled third-quarter profits of $1.1 billion, more than the $837 million it earned in the same period the year prior, and higher than Wall Street forecast. Ford posted third-quarter profits that were less than it earned in the same period last year, but higher than analysts anticipated.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) revealed quarterly results that were well short of analysts' expectations on the top and bottom line after the closing bell on Tuesday.  Shares of the largest online retailer plunged 10% on the report.

On the economic front, orders for long-lasting goods fell by 0.8% in September, a shallower loss than the 0.9% economists forecast. Excluding the transportation component, orders were actually up 1.7%, much bigger than the 0.4% rise that was anticipated.

The report is important for the manufacturing sector, and could impact a wide swath of companies from Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Sales of new homes are forecast to have climbed 1.7% last month to an annualized unit-rate of 300,000.  Demand for housing has remained anemic as a result of stubbornly-tight lending conditions, beaten down consumer confidence, and a glut of available supply on the market.

The Dow shed 207 points on Tuesday, snapping a three-day winning steak.  Still, the blue-chip index is up more than 7% since the beginning of October, and to the upside for the year.

Developments on the euro zone sovereign debt crisis have been driving the markets and all eyes have turned to a summit in Brussels on Wednesday.  Policymakers have been working to hash out a plan to stem the region's worsening crisis that is threatening to spread from small economies like Greece, to larger ones, such as Italy.

It isn't clear exactly what specifics will be announced after the summit, but analysts are watching three key points: how Greece's bailout will be structured, in what way the currency bloc plans on recapitalizing European banks, and how the region's bailout fund will be leveraged.

Any plan will need to be approved by the parliaments of all 17 countries in the bloc, where varying political tensions have come into play.  Germany -- Europe's economic powerhouse -- has been pushing to reduce its involvement in sovereign bailouts, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of the euro.

Energy markets were mixed ahead of the release of fresh data on U.S. energy inventories.  Light, sweet crude rose 35 cents, or 0.38%, to $93.52 a barrel.  Wholesale RBOB gasoline fell 2 cents, or 0.81%, to $2.68 a gallon.

Gold, which is presently on a three-day winning streak, climbed $11.60, or 0.72%, to $1,713 a troy ounce.  The yield on U.S. government debt moved higher.  The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields 2.139% from 2.116%.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips fell 0.05%, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.07% to 5,530 and the German DAX gained 0.02% to 6,048.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.16% to 8,748 and the Chinese Hang Seng climbed 0.52% to 19,067.