U.S. stock futures rise as Alcoa hits Street forecasts

LONDON -- U.S. stock futures were tracking higher on Wednesday afteraluminum maker Alcoa got fourth-quarter earnings season off to apositive start by hitting Wall Street's targets.

Ahead of themarket open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index inched 0.1% higherto 13,273, the Standard & Poor's 500 moved up 0.2% to 1,454 and theNasdaq-100 was up 0.2% to 2,719.

All three major U.S. benchmarksclosed lower Tuesday, with expectations for U.S. companies' profit linesmixed going into the latest reporting period that covers the finalthree months of 2012.

Still,for the fourth quarter Alcoa's income met analyst forecasts and thecompany also projected growing demand for aluminum in 2013. Alcoa earned$242 million, or 21 cents per share, compared to a loss of $191million, or 18 cents per share, on a year-ago basis. Revenue hit $5.90billion, which was more than the $5.58 billion predicted.

Alcoa is generally seen by investors as a bellwether for the health of the economy.

Markets in Asia had a positive trading session Wednesday, while European indexes were also advancing.


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