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Apr 15, 9:21 AM EDT

US stocks appear ready to extend modest rally; Johnson & Johnson reports higher earnings

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The U.S. stock market was poised to open higher and extend a modest rally Tuesday. Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson's quarterly earnings rose and Coca-Cola's matched Wall Street's expectations.

KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,117, as of 8:54 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures increased two points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,827. Nasdaq futures gained seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,477.

The stock market is recovering ground lost last week when investors worried about overpriced technology stocks.

HEALTHY RESULTS: Johnson & Johnson's first-quarter profit rose 8 percent, because of restrained costs and a jump in prescription drug sales. The world's biggest maker of health care products topped Wall Street expectations and raised its earnings outlook. Its stock rose $2.03, or 2.1 percent, to $99.17, ahead of regular trading Tuesday morning.

NOT SO BUBBLY: Coca-Cola's first-quarter profit fell nearly 8 percent as the world's biggest beverage maker faced a stronger dollar and sold less soda. But the company sold more of its noncarbonated drinks worldwide, and its earnings matched expectations. Coca-Cola rose 79 cents, or 2 percent, to $39.52 in pre-market trading.

INFLATION IN CHECK: Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping offset higher costs for food and clothing. The Labor Department said that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases the previous two months.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent while France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.6 percent as a drop in China's money supply unnerved investors ahead of first quarter economic growth figures due Wednesday. China's Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.4 percent.

BONDS: In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.65 percent.

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