Stocks to get boost from China report

@CNNMoneyInvest January 17, 2012: 8:12 AM ET

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks are gearing up for a positive open Tuesday, as global investors welcome data that show China's economic growth slowed, but not as much as feared.

S&P 500 (SPX), Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were roughly 0.9% higher ahead of the opening bell. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

China's government said the country's economy grew at an annual rate of 8.9% in the last three months of 2011, which wasn't quite as slow as economists had expected.

"There have been a lot of fears about global growth," said Gerry Davies, currency analyst with "A lot of people are worried the Chinese economy is slowing down. The fact that the data came out better than expected was greeted with some relief."

U.S. financial exchanges were closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so Tuesday also marks the first trading day for American markets to react to Standard & Poor's downgrade of nine eurozone governments, announced Friday evening.

On Monday, Standard & Poor's also stripped Europe's bailout fund of its AAA rating.

World markets shrugged off the latest downgrade, with European stocks closing slightly higher Monday. And although France lost its pristine AAA credit rating, shares of French banks BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale all gained more than 1%.

Greek debt talks to resume

That said, fears about Europe's debt crisis still hang in the balance. A Fitch official told Reuters Tuesday, that "Greece is insolvent so it will default." Greek officials and private investors are set to resume debt talks on Wednesday.

World markets: European stocks continued to rise in midday trading on Tuesday. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) added 0.9%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 1.9% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) climbed 1.6%.

Asian markets ended higher. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) soared 4.2%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong gained 3.2% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) climbed 1.1%.

Companies: Banking giants Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) both released their quarterly results before the opening bell on Tuesday.

Citigroup shares fell 3.1% in premarket trading, after its earnings and revenue fell short of forecasts. Wells Fargo shares rose 0.6%, after it beat the Street on both measures.

Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) reports its results before the market opens Wednesday, while Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) are scheduled to release their earnings reports ahead of the opening bell Thursday.

Shares of the Carnival Corp. (CCL) plummeted 16.6% in premarket trading. The company owns the Costa Cruises luxury ship that ran aground Friday. At least six people died in the wreck. Carnival said Monday it expects to lose at least $85 million.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro and British pound, but gained strength versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for February delivery added $2 to $100.70 a barrel.

Gold futures for February delivery rose $31.40 to $1,662.20 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.9% from 1.85% late Monday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,448.69 -14.25 -0.06%
Nasdaq 7,128.60 -17.53 -0.25%
S&P 500 2,670.29 0.15 0.01%
Treasuries 2.97 0.00 0.00%
Data as of 5:18am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 11.04 0.22 2.03%
Pfizer Inc 36.80 0.17 0.46%
Comcast Corp 33.87 0.66 1.99%
Merck & Co Inc 60.25 1.42 2.41%
Regions Financial Co... 18.86 -0.03 -0.16%
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