NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were headed for gains Wednesday, driven by strong earnings from Intel and JPMorgan Chase as well as increased consumer confidence from the Chinese trade report.
Hamed Khorsand, analyst at BWF Financial, said that China's trade balance was a key factor in driving pre-market trading.
"With the trade balance increasing, it's basically viewed as the global economy getting better," he said. "It's from a consumption standpoint. People are buying more Chinese goods. That means that the U.S. and other countries are consuming more."
Stocks recovered from early losses Tuesday to end the session slightly higher after minutes from the Fed's latest meeting suggested central bank policymakers are prepared to implement additional measures to bolster the economy.
The financial firm's stock edged up more than 1% in pre-market trading.
Economy: U.S. import prices fell 0.3% in September, according to U.S. government figures. The price of fuel imports led the decline, falling 3.1%.
Export prices rose in September by 0.6%, following a rise of 0.8% the prior month. This was driven by agricultural import prices, which rose 2.4%.
World markets: European markets were sharply higher. The FTSE 100 gained 1.4%, while the CAC 40 in Paris and Germany's DAX rose 1.8%.
In Asia, stocks closed in positive territory. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shot up 1.5% and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.7%. Japan's Nikkei edged higher 0.2%.
China posted a trade surplus of $16.9 billion for September, as exports climbed 25% and imports rose 24%. That's down from a $20 billion surplus in August.
But the drop was not enough to ease tensions between the China and the United States, which has been pressuring China to allow its currency to appreciate against the dollar because an undervalued yuan hurts U.S. manufacturers by undercutting their export prices.
"China's overall trade surplus may have declined slightly last month, but tensions are unlikely to do the same," said Mark Williams, senior China economist at Capital Economic.
Gold futures for December delivery surged $14.3 to $1,361 an ounce.
The price of oil rose $1.07 per barrel to $82.74.
Treasurys: The price fell on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury, pushing up the yield to 2.45% from 2.42% late Tuesday.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||4.19%||4.26%|
|15 yr fixed||3.23%||3.27%|
|30 yr refi||4.17%||4.23%|
|15 yr refi||3.21%||3.25%|
Today's featured rates:
Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More
New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More
Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More
Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More
Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More