US futures mixed on weak US corporate earnings

FILE-- A June 25, 2012 file photo shows Specialist Christopher Trotta working on the floor of the New York Stock. Wall Street was poised for a muted open Tuesday June 26, 2012, with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent. A parade of grim news sent investors fleeing stocks for a third straight day on Tuesday July 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Drew/file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Futures were mixed Wednesday as investors overlooked a bevy of ugly quarterly earnings on the growing belief that the Federal Reserve will soon step in to revitalize the economy.

Dow Jones industrial futures added 125 points to 12,649 and the broader S&P futures rose 8.8 points to 1,338.30. Tech heavy Nasdaq futures slid 3.75 points at 2,544.75 after surprisingly weak earnings from Apple and Netflix.

Apple shares fell more than 4 percent in premarket trading Wednesday after the company revealed in its earnings report that consumers, leery about what is ahead for the U.S. economy, are buying lower-end versions of iPads and iPhones.

It was Apple's slowest growth in two years and also a rare miss as it fell short of Wall Street expectations.

More disappointing earnings followed Wednesday, with Ford reporting a 57 percent decline in net income, PepsiCo saying net income tumbled 21 percent. WellPoint, the nation's second largest insurer, lowered its outlook because of falling profits and Delta Air Lines reported second-quarter losses of nearly $200 million due to bad hedging calls on oil.

There were some surprises to the upside, however.

Caterpillar rode a recovery in the housing market and robust mining activity overseas to a profit of $1.7 billion during the quarter, blowing away Wall Street expectations. It also raised its outlook and shares jumped 4 percent in premarket trading.

Boeing, coming off a dazzling performance at the Farnborough Airshow in the U.K., said its second-quarter net income rose 3 percent on strong sales of commercial airplanes and unexpected defense unit growth. It too raised its outlook and shares edged 3 percent higher before the opening bell.

S&P futures jumped 20 points after the pair of industrial power houses put up gigantic numbers, but futures were sharply higher early on with expectations rising that the Federal Reserve, growing impatient with the sputtering economic rebound, will act.

Central bank officials meet next week.

Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week of possible actions the Fed could take, including more spending on Treasuries and sustained efforts to keep interest rates low.

Later on Wednesday, the Commerce Department will release its report on new home sales in June. Economists expect sales increased 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 370,000 in June, according to a survey by FactSet.

Caterpillar cited housing in its surprisingly strong earnings report and a positive number could easily push markets higher Wednesday.

Builders broke ground last month on the most new homes and apartments in nearly four years. And permits to build single-family homes rose to the highest level since March 2010. Surveys also show that builders are more confident in the market, partly because they are seeing more interest from potential buyers.