Following Tuesday's 74-point rise, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) seems ready to open higher this morning as investors digested upbeat after-hours results from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . In early pre-market trade, the futures market was pricing an 18-point advance and implied the Dow could stay above 13,000.
Apple stock traded 9% higher at $611 overnight following second-quarter results that handsomely beat Wall Street estimates. Some 35 million iPhones and 12 million iPads were sold during January, February, and March, which pushed Q2 sales up 59% to $39 billion and helped earnings surge 92% to $12.30 per share. Cash flow of $14 billion helped Apple's bank balance top $100 billion.
Elsewhere, economic data may influence today's trading. Durable goods numbers will be published ahead of the open, while today's Federal Open Market Committee announcement at 12:30 p.m. EDT might provide clues to future economic policy -- including signals for further "quantitative easing" -- and perhaps some thoughts on the current eurozone debt crisis.
Over in Europe, investors continued to regain their poise following various political fears and the sharp sell-off on Monday. French, Spanish, and German shares advanced 1%-plus in Wednesday morning trade to consolidate similar gains made yesterday.
In the U.K., however, news of a "double-dip" recession restricted movements on the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) . GDP figures from London showed the British economy had shrunk by 0.2% during January, February, and March to notch two consecutive quarterly contractions -- and thus officially register the country's second downturn in three years.
Among British shares, GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK ) fell 3% following its first-quarter figures. The pharmaceutical group announced underlying sales and profits up just 1%, although the quarterly dividend was lifted 6%.
However, Glaxo is not the UK blue chip that has attracted billionaire Warren Buffett to invest more than $1 billion. The legendary investor recently bought a famous British name with global expansion potential -- and you can discover the name of the company and the price he paid in this latest free report.
Back home, earnings season remains in full swing today, with Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , Caterpillar, Eli Lilly, and Harley-Davidson among those reporting numbers before the open.