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Global stocks looked set for another strong day on Wednesday morning, following more upbeat earnings and signs that Washington is nearing a deal to raise the debt ceiling -- a key concern that had been hanging over stocks for a number of weeks.



U.S. stock index futures were up with about an hour before markets open, suggesting that stocks will rise at the start of trading. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were up 53 points or 0.4 per cent. Futures for the broader S&P 500 were up 6 points or 0.5 per cent. Both indexes delivered strong gains on Tuesday, with earnings euphoria and strong housing starts driving sentiment.



At the same time, U.S. President Barack Obama came out in favour of a $3.7-trillion (U.S.) deficit reduction package proposed by six senators, which is seen as a key move toward raising the debt ceiling and removing concerns that the U.S. would not meet its debt obligations over a short period.

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Apple Inc. was up 5.4 per cent in premarket activity, after the technology behemoth delivered robust quarterly financial results on Tuesday after markets closed. The company reported earnings of $7.3-billion in its fiscal third quarter, more than double the earnings in the same period last year. Revenues rose 82 per cent and gross margins expanded.



In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 1.1 per cent and Germany's DAX index was up 0.4 per cent in afternoon trading. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 per cent in overnight trading.



Meanwhile, China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, agreed to buy the struggling Calgary-based energy company OPTI Canada Inc. for $2.1-billion.

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