Stocks head toward slightly higher open

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stock prices edged toward a higher opening Wednesday as investors prepared for another barrage of corporate earnings reports, and took positions ahead of key housing data.

A move higher would point to stability in the market after Wall Street tumbled Tuesday, taking the Dow Jones industrials down more than 200 points. Investors were rattled by disappointing earnings and renewed concerns about the mortgage lending market. On Wednesday, Wall Street will look for direction from key housing data when the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales for June. The market anticipates that 5.85 million homes were resold in June, down from 5.99 million in May, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed as of Friday by Thomson Financial. Investors will also await earnings reports from dozens of top companies, many of them members of the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Companies scheduled to report include Boeing Co., E-Trade Financial Corp., ConocoPhillips, and Apple Inc. Dow futures expiring in September rose 21, or 0.09 percent, to 13,834, while Standard & Poor's 500 index futures rose 2.70, or 0.18 percent, to 1,525.20. Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 2.50, or 0.12 percent, to 2,028.00. In corporate news, Inc. is expected to spike in trading after the web retailer said its second-quarter profit more than tripled thanks to strong sales of books, music and electronics worldwide. ConocoPhillips is expected to report earnings of 2.66 dollars per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial. Boeing is projected to report a profit of 1.16 dollars per share, while Apple is expected to see a profit of 72 cents per share. E-Trade, which reports after the closing bell, is expected to post a profit of 40 cents per share. Oil prices dropped again following a steep decline in the previous session, and traders awaited the release of U.S. government data expected to show an increase in refinery utilization. Light, sweet crude for September delivery dropped 19 cents to 73.37 dollars a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange