NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks were marching higher Wednesday, looking to extend the prior session's gains as investors become more optimistic that second-quarter earnings reports will drive the major indices to fresh, record highs.
shares were advancing nearly 2% to $131.90 after the aerospace giant hiked its 2014 earnings per share outlook to between $7.90 and $8.10 from its previous forecast of $7.15 to $7.35. Net earnings for the second quarter increased by 52% to $1.65 billion as its backlog remained strong at $440 billion with more than 5,200 commercial airplane orders.
Delta Air Lines
was adding on more than 2.5% to $38.68 after reporting that quarterly net income rose 17% to $801 million as passenger revenue increased 9.1% to $9.27 billion.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 19 points, or 6.46 points above fair value, to 17,052, while S&P 500 futures were rising 3.25 points, or 0.97 points above fair value, to 1,978.25 as the index edges closer to 2,000. Futures for the Nasdaq were ticking up 13.3 points, or 10.08 points above fair value, to 3,963.8.
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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 in Record-Marking Zone as Chipotle, Comcast Boost Profits
U.S. stocks moved back into record-making territory on Tuesday as positive earnings overshadowed continued unease in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Boosting the index, Chipotle
, Comcast and Verizon
gained following better-than-expected earnings reports.
S&P Capital IQ reported that S&P 500 second-quarter earnings growth is now expected to come in at 7% year over year, with earnings per share of $28.80. All 10 sectors are anticipated to have grown the second quarter.
Meanwhile, a report from Yardeni Research said that S&P 500 forward earnings rose to a record high last week and have risen in 23 of the past 24 weeks. The S&P 400 has been up for 15 weeks and at a record high for the past 13 weeks. The S&P 600 has been at a record high for seven weeks after rising for nine consecutive weeks.
Microsoft on Tuesday evening reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. Apple's
earnings in the quarter ended June 28 rose at the highest rate in nearly two years as the tech giant sold 35.2 million iPhones during the period.
will be reporting after the markets close. AT&T is expected by Wall Street to post second-quarter earnings of 63 cents a share on revenue of $33.22 billion. Social networker Facebook, which has worked to shift its business to mobile, is expected by Wall Street on Wednesday to report second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $2.81 billion.
Potential market movers also include Herbalife . Activist investor Bill Ackman denounced the weight loss and nutritional supplements company as a pyramid scheme in a three-hour presentation on Tuesday, but Wall Street shrugged off his criticism and sent the company's stock soaring more than 25% to $67.77.