Stock Futures Climb Amid Strong Earnings, German Data

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Stock-index futures pointed higher following two-straight days of losses on Friday as traders responded to strong earnings from three blue chips and an unexpected increase in German business sentiment.

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Today's Markets 

As of 8:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 76 points to 12978, S&P 500 futures gained 7.7 points to 1380 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 14 points to 2698.

The S&P 500 has shed 1% over the past two days as traders have once again began worrying about the eurozone debt crisis and responded to generally weak U.S. economic data. Sentiment was generally brighter on Friday.

The Ifo Institute's closely-watched gauge of German business sentiment rose slightly in April, compared to expectations of a drop. Germany is Europe's biggest economy, and there have been worries among economists that it may suffer as some of its embattled trader partners see their economies contract.

"Today’s release suggests that German economic conditions remain buoyant, mainly reflecting robust domestic demand," analysts at Nomura wrote in a research note.

Still, the Spanish debt situation remained a big concern around European trading desks. The yield on Spain's 10-year note rose above the painful 6% level before receding somewhat, according to a report by Reuters. Additionally, the cost to insure against a Spanish and Italian default jumped, Markit, a London-based firm that keeps track of credit default swap spreads said on Friday.

On the earnings front, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) posted quarterly results that beat on the top and bottom lines, as the technology bellwether saw gains across all but one of its business divisions. General Electric (NYSE:GE), the blue-chip conglomerate, and Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), the world's biggest oilfield servicing company, also saw their profit and revenue top forecasts.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) profit came in-line with expectations,while its revenue came slightly ahead.

There are no major economic reports on tap for the day.

Commodities markets were mixed. Crude oil traded in New York rose 64 cents, or 0.63%, to $102.91 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline dipped a penny, or 0.19%, to $3.15 a gallon.

In metals, gold climbed $4.30, or 0.25%, to $1,646.

Foreign Markets 

European blue chips rallied 0.94%, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.29% to 5761 and the German DAX jumped 0.82% to 6726.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.28% to 9561 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged higher by 0.07% to 21011.

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