--Stock futures get a lift from strong German data, Hewlett-Packard's results
--Europe is broadly higher after German business confidence rose much more than expected
--Hewlett-Packard shares rally in premarket after better-than-expected results, outlook
By Tomi Kilgore
NEW YORK--U.S. stock futures rallied, bouncing up after the worst two-day stretch of the year, with investors cheering strong data out of Germany and Hewlett-Packard's better-than-expected results and outlook.
About 90 minutes ahead of the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures advanced 66 points, or 0.5%, to 13938. On Thursday, the Dow fell 47 points, or 0.3%, to suffer the biggest two-day point and percentage decline since Dec. 28.
Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures tacked on eight points, or 0.5%, to 1509 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2726.
Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.
No major U.S. economic data are scheduled for release Friday.
Among early stock movers, Dow component Hewlett-Packard rallied 5.2% in premarket trading after the technology company reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded analyst expectations, citing the positive impact of its recent restructuring efforts. In addition, it provided a second-quarter earnings outlook that was above current projections.
European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 1.1% to recover most of the sharp losses suffered in the previous session, after data showing German business confidence increased much more than expected in February. This helped to offset a prediction by the European Union's official economists that the euro-zone economy will contract in 2013 for the second-straight year.
The Ifo Institute's business confidence index rose to 107.4, the biggest monthly gain since July 2010, from January's 104.3 and above economist estimates of 104.7. Germany's DAX index climbed 0.9%.
Elsewhere, Italy's FTSE MIB index advanced 1.3%. The index had fallen sharply this week, closing Thursday at a two-month low, ahead of general elections in Italy this weekend; investors fear a new government may not continue the country's reformist path.
Asian markets were mixed, with China's Shanghai Composite falling 0.5% to a one-month low and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shedding 0.5% to a two-month low. Investors are growing increasingly concerned that policy makers will implement additional tightening measures to control residential property prices. Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.7% and Australia's S&P ASX 200 adding 0.8% after suffering sharp losses on Thursday.
Front-month April crude-oil futures advanced 0.4% to $93.21 a barrel, while February gold futures inched up less than 0.1% to $1578.40 an ounce. The dollar edged slightly higher against both the euro and the yen.
In other corporate news, American International Group gained 3.9% after the insurer reported fourth-quarter operating earnings--excluding losses suffered as a result of superstorm Sandy and asset sales--that exceeded expectations of a slight loss, with results boosted by tightening credit spreads.
Texas Instruments said that it would increase its quarterly dividend by 33%, to 28 cents a share, and that it increased its stock-repurchase authorization by $5 billion. The semiconductor maker's stock was still inactive ahead of the open.
Abercrombie & Fitch climbed 6% after the teen apparel retailer reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and raised its quarterly dividend by 14%, to 20 cents a share, helping to offset a fiscal-2013 earnings outlook that was below estimates.
Vivus dropped 5.1% after the pharmaceutical company said a European Medicines Agency committee backed an earlier decision, in which the committee recommended against approval of the Vivus's weight-loss drug.
WebMD Health surged 16% after the health-information provider's adjusted fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat analyst estimates and its 2013 earnings outlook topped forecasts.
Nordstrom reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that topped estimates while revenue was in line, but it provided a full-year earnings and sales-growth outlook below current forecasts. The high-end department-store chain was still untraded in the premarket.
Interpublic reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings that were above expectations, while revenue was in line, and said it was raising its quarterly dividend by 25%, to 7.5 cents a share, and authorizing a new $300 million share-buyback program. The advertising company's stock was still inactive in the premarket.
Write to Tomi Kilgore at [email protected]