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Strong report from Apple boosts stock futures

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[April 23, 2009]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple Inc.'s stronger-than-expected profit report lifted stock market futures Thursday as investors grew optimistic that technology companies could be enduring the recession better than some had expected.

Another batch of earnings announcements and reports on unemployment claims and sales of existing homes are also due.

Results are expected from PNC Financial Corp. and JetBlue Airways Corp.

Government figures are expected to show that new jobless claims increased last week while the total number of people receiving unemployment insurance set a record for the 12th straight week.

A real estate trade group's report is expected to show sales of existing homes declined slightly in March after jumping sharply a month earlier.

Investors were cheered by Apple's report after the market closed Wednesday of a 15 percent increase in its quarterly earnings, helped by strong sales of the iPhone. Investors are also relieved that the company said co-founder Steve Jobs still plans to return from his medical leave as scheduled.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 58, or 0.7 percent, to 7,874. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 7.90, or 0.9 percent, to 844.80. Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 17.75, or 1.3 percent, to 1,341.25.

The rise in stock futures comes as stocks ended mostly lower Wednesday amid worries about the health of banks.

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Bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.96 percent from 2.94 percent late Wednesday. The yield on the three-month T-bill, considered one of the safest investments, rose to 0.14 percent from 0.13 percent Wednesday.

Light, sweet crude rose 73 cents to $49.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.22 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, Germany's DAX index slipped 0.13 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent.

[Associated Press; By TIM PARADIS]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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