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Stock futures higher in wake of sell-off, GE results

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[July 18, 2014]  By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose modestly on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to bounce from its biggest decline since April 10, ahead of data on consumer sentiment.

Investors will continue to monitor geopolitical tensions, as world leaders demanded an investigation after a Malaysian airliner was downed at the Ukraine-Russia border and Israel announced the start of a Gaza ground campaign on Thursday.

The CBOE Volatility index surged 32 percent to 14.54 in the prior session, its biggest jump since April 2013, as the conflict in both the Middle East and Eastern Europe escalated. However, the index still remains well below its historical average of around 20.

General Electric advanced 1.1 percent to $26.90 before the opening bell after the conglomerate posted growth in second-quarter earnings that matched expectations.

Google Inc gained 2.1 percent to $593.10 in premarket after the world's No.1 Internet search company posted second-quarter results and said its chief business officer would leave the company.

IBM shares slipped 1.5 percent to $189.70 in light premarket trade after the world's largest technology company reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations but its software business grew less than expected.

Data expected on Friday includes the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary July reading on consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Expectations call for a reading of 83, slightly higher than the 82.5 result in June.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 4.5 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 16 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 11 points.

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Other S&P 500 companies due to report Friday include Honeywell and Kansas City Southern

S&P 500 companies' profits are expected to grow 4.9 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from the 8.4 percent growth forecast at the start of April. Revenue is seen up 3 percent.

Thomson Reuters data also shows that of 66 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Thursday morning, 68.2 percent have topped Wall Street expectations, roughly in line with the 67 percent rate for the past four quarters and above the 63 percent rate since 1994.

European and Asian stocks fell, after the Malaysian passenger plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, stoking tensions between Russia and the West.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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