By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) â" President Barack Obamaâs call for corporate tax cuts and a freeze on some spending helped push U.S. stock futures higher Wednesday, as investors also awaited a slew of corporate earnings and the Federal Reserveâs latest pronouncements on monetary policy.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,956, +34.00, +0.29%) Â rose 34 points to 11,956 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,293, +5.70, +0.44%) Â gained 5.60 points to 1,293.20.
Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,310, +8.25, +0.36%) Â were up 7.75 points at 2,309.00.
U.S. markets overcame early disappointment over earnings on Tuesday to finish the session little changed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 3.33 points, or less than 0.1%.
State of the Union address
President Obama addresses the nation on the economy, innovation and health care during his State of the Union speech.
President Obama used his State of the Union speech late Tuesday to call for a lower corporate tax rate and a five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending â" a move that he said will require âpainful cutsâ in defense, and even in Medicare and Medicaid. Read more on Obamaâs State of the Union speech.
Wednesdayâs main economic data will come after the market opens. Figures on December new-home sales are due at 10 a.m. Eastern time, followed by the latest statement from the Federal Reserve at 2:15 p.m. Eastern.
Markets are likely to focus on the Fedâs inflation and growth outlook as investors look for any indication of when interest rates will begin to rise. Read more on expectations for the Fed.
The dollar edged slightly lower ahead of the Fed statement. The euro rose 0.1% to $1.3702, while the dollar slipped 0.1% against the yen to Â¥82.184.
Among companies in focus Wednesday, shares in Yahoo Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!yhoo/quotes/nls/yhoo (YHOO 16.02, -0.07, -0.44%) Â may come under pressure after the Internet search company late Tuesday forecast revenue for the current quarter that was below Wall Street expectations.
Toyota Motor Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!tm/quotes/nls/tm (TM 83.86, +0.36, +0.43%) Â fell 1.9% in Tokyo after the auto maker said it was recalling more than 1.7 million vehicles worldwide to fix problems including fuel-system defects. Read more on Toyotaâs woes.
Firms due to announce their results Wednesday include Boeing Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ba/quotes/nls/ba (BA 72.24, -0.49, -0.67%) , which is seen reporting fourth-quarter earnings of $1.12 a share.
ConocoPhillips /quotes/comstock/13*!cop/quotes/nls/cop (COP 67.48, -0.62, -0.91%) Â is forecast to report a profit of $1.28 a share for the latest quarter.
In international markets, European shares posted strong gains, with the U.K.âs FTSE 100 index up 1.2% in mid-morning trading.
Most Asian markets closed higher, though Japanâs Nikkei 225 Average dropped 0.6%, in part due to the losses for Toyota.
Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.Powered By iWebRSS.com