* Mining stocks under pressure as gold tumbles
* General Mills slips after results
* Futures up: Dow 71 pts, S&P 9.3 pts, Nasdaq 20 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose
on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may build on its biggest
gain in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, on the back of
stronger-than-expected economic data.
The S&P 500 rose nearly 1 percent Tuesday, its most
since June 13, as data on durable goods orders, sales of new
homes and consumer confidence all topped analysts' expectations
and the People's Bank of China eased concerns about a possible
banking crisis in the world's second-largest economy.
Still, the benchmark S&P index remains down 3.9 percent
since the Fed signaled last week that it may begin to rein in
its stimulus efforts should its economic forecasts hold.
"I'm going to be really surprised if we end up big today
like we did yesterday, this may just be a happiness hangover
from yesterday," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research
analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
"People want to believe the end of quantitative easing isn't
just around the corner."
The final estimate of first quarter gross domestic product
is due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey
forecast a 2.4 percent annualized pace of growth, the same as
the preliminary estimate for the quarter.
Gold stocks were under pressure as the precious metal fell
to its lowest in almost three years, putting it on course for a
record quarterly loss. U.S.-listed shares of Gold Fields Ltd
dropped 6.1 percent to $4.77 and Barrick Gold Corp
lost 4.1 percent to $15.45 in premarket trading.
S&P 500 futures rose 9.3 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 71
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 20 points.
Food manufacturer General Mills slipped 0.7 percent
to $47.98 in light premarket trading after giving a forecast for
the new fiscal year that fell shy of expectations, even as its
quarterly profit was in line with estimates.
Other S&P 500 companies due to report on Wednesday include
Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc, Monsanto Co and Paychex
Microsoft Corp climbed 0.7 percent to $33.892 in
premarket trading after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the
software company to "overweight."
European shares were on track for their biggest two-day gain
since April, after a month-long downward trend, thanks to robust
Asian shares turned around a four-day losing streak and rose
on Wednesday after China's central bank assured it will offer
funds to banks if needed, but lingering fears of a credit crunch
and slower loan growth continued to drive selling of Shanghai