Europe Stocks, S&P 500 Futures Gain With Apple, Facebook

Frankfurt (Apr 24) European stocks rose with U.S. equity-index futures on results from Apple Inc. (AAPL) to Facebook Inc. (FB) and Caterpillar Inc. that beat analysts’ estimates and speculation of more takeovers. Most commodities rose, while Russian shares fell for a fourth day.


Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.4 percent at 7:55 a.m. in New York, and Nasdaq 100 Index contracts jumped 1.4 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.5 percent. Copper climbed 0.8 percent, oil rose 0.4 percent and U.S. natural gas increased 0.7 percent. Spain’s borrowing costs declined to a record at an auction. Russia’s Micex Index slid 1.5 percent.


Apple reported iPhone sales that beat projections yesterday and Facebook said revenue jumped 72 percent. General Electric Co. is in talks to buy Alstom SA (ALO), people with knowledge of the matter said, boosting speculation of mergers and acquisitions. Ukraine said its forces entered the city of Slovyansk and killed five pro-Russian separatists, a day after Moscow warned it would respond if Russians were attacked.


“Markets are positive and they have good reasons to be so,” said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $6 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “Earnings are pretty good and M&A activity seems to have picked up sharply. We’re seeing opportunistic deals, triggered by ultra-low interest rates, healthy balance sheets and the need to optimize a company’s product mix or geographic presence.”



Nickel ore is transported via a conveyor belt as it is unloaded from the bulk carrier Sansho at Queensland Nickel Pty's port facility in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Close



Nickel ore is transported via a conveyor belt as it is unloaded from the bulk carrier... Read More





 Nickel ore is transported via a conveyor belt as it is unloaded from the bulk carrier Sansho at Queensland Nickel Pty's port facility in Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Durable-goods orders probably rose in March while jobless claims increased last week, economists said before reports today. Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Starbucks Corp. are among companies set to report earnings today.


Raising Buyback


Apple jumped 7.7 percent in early New York trading. The world’s biggest company by market value said it will increase its share repurchase authorization by $30 billion, boost its dividend and split its stock seven for one. Facebook climbed 4.9 percent. The largest social-networking site reported net income almost tripled to $642 million in the first quarter.


Caterpillar climbed 4.4 percent. The biggest maker of mining and construction equipment posted first-quarter earnings and sales that beat analysts’ estimates as it boosted its full-year outlook.


Almost 75 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 that have posted profit results this earnings season have beaten analysts’ estimates, and 54 percent have topped sales projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.


A Commerce Department report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington will show U.S. durable-goods orders advanced 2 percent in March, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. They increased 2.2 percent in February. Initial jobless claims probably increased, a Labor Department report may show.