Stock Futures Jump; Earnings, Data in Focus


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U.S. stock-index futures zipped higher on Tuesday in volatile action as traders digested a round of global business surveys and earnings from several big-name companies.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:13 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 72 points to 14571, S&P 500 futures gained 6.3 points to 1562 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 18.3 points to 2816.

There was no lack of information for traders to parse through on the day.

First-quarter earnings season was in full swing with three Dow components reporting ahead of the opening bell. United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), the industrial giant, revealed profits that missed expectations after factoring out one-time favorable items, with sales also missing expectations. DuPont's (NYSE:DD) earnings per share topped the Street's view, with the chemical maker's sales coming inline with forecasts. Travelers' (NYSE:TRV) results blew past expectations, sending the insurer's shares soaring in the pre-market.

Another big gainer was Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which reported considerably stronger-than-expected quarterly results, coupled with a bullish assessment of its original series, "House of Cards." All eyes will be on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the closing bell, when the world's biggest technology company reveals its quarterly results. The iPad-maker's behemoth market capitalization means moves in its stock price often have an outsize impact on the markets -- particularly the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

On the global front, HSBC's China PMI slid to 50.5 in April from 51.6 in March, coming in far short of expectations of 51.5. The reading suggests the manufacturing sector in the world's No. 2 economy expanded at the slowest pace in two months.

Hongbin Qu, HSBC's chief economist for China, said in the report that the recent bout of weak data could put pressure on Bejing to ease further. Still, markets in China sold off, with the Hang Seng sliding 1.1%.

A separate report from Markit showed business activity in the eurozone contracting at the same pace in April as it did the month before. The services sector shrunk at the slowest pace in two months, but the manufacturing sector contracted at the swiftest pace in four. Indeed, Germany, the bloc's economic engine, saw its business activity skidding into contraction mode for the first time in five months.

"The latest figures suggest any rebound in GDP over the first quarter could be rather short-lived, not least as the manufacturing and service sectors both recorded faster declines in new orders than one month earlier," Tom Moore, a senior economist at Markit wrote in the report.

At 10:00 a.m. ET, traders will get a reading on new home sales. Economists expect sales of newly-constructed homes to have jumped by 9,000 to an annual pace of 420,000 units in March from the month before. Data on sales of existing homes came in shy of estimates on Monday.

In commodities, U.S. oil prices slid 66 cents, or 0.75%, to $88.55 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline sold off by 1.2% to $2.737 a gallon. Gold was steady at $1,421 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.9% to 2634, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1.1% to 6351 and the German DAX soared 1.3% to 7578.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 ticked lower by 0.29% to 13530 and the Chinese Hang Seng dropped 1.1% to 21807.

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