US stock futures edged up ahead of earnings

NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stock futures edged higher Monday as Caterpillar raised its profit forecast on expectations that the economic recovery will continue. But European leaders failed to offer details on how to resolve the region’s debt problems.

Worries that Europe’s debt problems could lead to a global recession have helped drag global stocks up and down the last two years. European leaders said they made progress at a weekend summit, but they likely won’t unveil concrete plans to help resolve the crisis until Wednesday.

Even with the global economic worries, Caterpillar and other U.S. companies are saying they are still making bigger profits. “Although there is a good deal of economic and political uncertainty in the world, we are not seeing it much in our business at this point,” Caterpillar Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman. said.

The maker of construction equipment said its profit rose 44 percent in the latest quarter from a year earlier. It shares rose 5 percent in premarket trading.

Caterpillar joins McDonald’s Corp. and other U.S. companies that have reported stronger third-quarter earnings. Those reports helped the Dow Jones industrial average last week to rise for the third straight week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished the week at its highest level since Aug. 3, before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating on Aug. 5 and helped trigger big swings in global markets.

Analysts expect companies in the S&P 500 to report total earnings growth of 13.5 percent for the third quarter, according to FactSet.

Other big companies expected to report earnings results this week include UPS Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Procter & Gamble.

Forty minutes ahead of the opening, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 36 points to 11,793. S&P 500 index futures are up 3, or 0.2 percent, to 1,238.20. Nasdaq 100 futures are up 9, or 0.4 percent, to 2,343.25.