NEW YORK Wall Street headed for a higher open Wednesday after the government reported a larger-than-expected increase in orders for big-ticket manufactured goods.
The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods jumped 1.3 percent in July compared to the previous month, led by a big increase in demand for commercial aircraft. That was well above the 0.1 increase expected by economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR.
Durable goods, which also include cars, appliances and machinery, are under scrutiny not only because they reflect business spending, but because they are also an indicator of consumer confidence. The July increase equaled a 1.3 percent rise in June; both months produced the strongest gains since a 4.1 percent leap last December.
The Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 27, or 0.27 percent, to 11,439.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 3.30, or 0.26 percent, to 1,275, and the Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 3.50, or 0.19 percent, to 1,895.
Earlier, the indexes were pointing lower.
Wall Street ended mixed Tuesday as Hurricane Gustav sent oil prices higher and offset a better-than-expected reading on consumer confidence.
Investors will be watching to see if oil prices keep rising on fears that Gustav, which weakened into a tropical storm after hitting Haiti, could regain strength and slam into oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
In premarket trading, light, sweet crude was up $2.01 at $118.28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Also Wednesday, the government will report weekly inventories figures for crude, gasoline and distillates, which could further weigh on prices.
Bonds fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which trades opposite its price, rose to 3.80 percent from 3.78 percent late Tuesday. The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.20 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.59 percent, Germany's DAX index was down 1.12 percent, and France's CAC-40 was down 1 percent.