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Stock futures rise after upbeat Intel results

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[April 20, 2010]  NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock futures are rising Wednesday after Intel Corp.'s quarterly results showed companies are starting to spend again on technology.

Increased corporate spending provides further evidence the economy is slowly, but steadily recovering. Stocks have been rising in recent months on encouraging signs of growth.

Investors will get further insight into the economy and the health of consumers throughout the day. The government is scheduled to release reports on inflation and retail sales, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. will become the first big bank to report quarterly earnings. The Federal Reserve is also releasing its beige book report, which provides an update on economic activity on a regional basis.

Intel's first-quarter results easily topped expectations, providing hopes that technology spending is picking up and will help drive economic growth. Just as important, the technology company said its profit margin will be better than previously estimated in 2010 and it plans to hire 1,000 new workers.

High unemployment and spending remain two of the major hurdles to a strong, sustained economic rebound.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 25, or 0.2 percent, to 10,988. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 2.70, or 0.2 percent, to 1,195.80, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 8.25, or 0.4 percent, to 2,009.50.

Intel shares jumped $1.02, or 4.5 percent, to $23.79 in premarket trading.

JPMorgan Chase's results should provide details about whether consumers are still struggling to repay loans. Elevated loan losses have cost banks hundreds of billions of dollars in recent years.

Economic reports due out Wednesday are expected to show the economy is continuing to heal. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters forecast retail sales likely grew 1.2 percent in March as consumers increased their spending. Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February.

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A separate report is expected to show inflation remained benign last month. The Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation as the consumer level, likely rose 0.1 percent last month.

The Fed has repeatedly said that inflation is not a problem and has been able to keep its key interest rates low because of a lack of inflation. The Fed has kept rates low to help stimulate the economy.

Both reports are due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Stocks advanced Tuesday, with the Dow pushing further above 11,000. It rose about 13 points as expectations grew that earnings in the coming weeks would show the economy is improving. Stocks initially dipped on disappointing results from Alcoa Inc.

Meanwhile, bond prices fell Wednesday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.84 percent from 3.82 percent late Tuesday.

The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold and oil rose.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.4 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.5 percent, and France's CAC-40 climbed 0.5 percent.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN BERNARD]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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