NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday as a number of strong results, including from a pair of Dow components, reassured investors that corporations continued to fare well despite concerns about global economic growth.
Both Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co rose in premarket trading following their results, with heavy machinery maker Caterpillar also raising its full-year profit view. Shares of Caterpillar rose 3.6 percent to $97.98 while 3M added 2.1 percent to $141.80.
As both are big multinationals, the results were especially positive, given concerns about how recent U.S. dollar strength could impact profit growth.
According to RBC Capital Markets, "domestically-oriented companies are on track to grow earnings by 9.1 percent vs. 1.5 percent for more global names [this quarter] and are beating by a greater percentage."
Futures were higher before the Dow components reported, but added to their gains following the results. The early strength came as investors once again used a market decline - Wednesday's selloff, which was related to a shooting at the Canadian parliament - as an opportunity to add to positions.
General Motors Co gained 2.9 percent to $32.23 following its results.. The automaker has been under heavy pressure this year, falling about 23 percent thus far in 2014.
On the downside, AT&T Inc fell 1.2 percent to $34.09 a day after the telecom giant reported weaker-than-expected revenue growth and cut its full-year forecast for consolidated revenue growth.
Yelp Inc slumped 13 percent to $61.04 on heavy volume a day after giving a revenue outlook that was below expectations. The outlook prompted many analysts to cut their price targets on the stock.
Despite some disappointments, this season has largely been a positive one for companies. With 27 percent of the S&P 500 having reported, 68.9 percent have exceeded profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent.
Given the gain implied by futures, the S&P 500 will likely rise back above its 150-day moving average, a key technical level it closed under on Wednesday.
That the benchmark index continues to trade around that level is a sign that trading trends have not turned fully positive, though the S&P has not undergone a correction - defined as a 10 percent decline from a peak - since 2012, as investors use market declines as buying opportunities.
Jobless claims rose by 17,000 in the latest week, in line with expectations, while the underlying trend remained consistent with a firming labor market.
Futures snapshot at 8:47 a.m.:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 13.5 points, or 0.7 percent, with 293,036 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were gaining 28 points, or 0.71 percent, in volume of 48,018 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 122 points, or 0.74 percent, with 45,245 contracts changing hands.
Editing by Bernadette Baum