MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures pare gains after early data

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By Steve Goldstein & Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures remained mostly higher on Thursday as markets assessed President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, while upbeat results from Ford Motor Co. and others also contributed to a positive tone.

Stock futures pared early gains after economic data showed weekly jobless claims falling by 8,000 to 470,000, and orders for durable goods climbing 0.3% in December.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.6 points to 1,097.2 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2 points to 1,807. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 23 points to 10,218.

News Hub: In Speech, Obama Says Jobs a Priority

WSJ's Kate Kelly and Jerry Seib parse President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address on The News Hub. They tell Kelly Evans that while there were plenty of digs to go around, the president ultimately focused on job growth.

Speaking to the nation and members of Congress in a high-stakes policy address, President Barack Obama late Wednesday used his first State of the Union speech to call for a host of job creation measures and a redoubled effort to finish health-care reform in the midst of a newly challenging political environment for him and his party.

Stock markets in Europe and Asia -- which also were getting their first opportunity to react to the Federal Reserve interest-rate decision and statement -- were generally stronger, with the Nikkei 225 up 1.6% in Tokyo and the pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 rising 1%.

Obama's call for tax breaks, as well as a less strident attack on banks vs. what was seen last week, appeared to go down well overseas.

A vote in the Senate on the confirmation of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also is due, with expectations that the Fed chairman will squeak through.

Earnings rolled in from giants including Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 11.45, -0.10, -0.87%) , up 1.8% after returning to a profit and as Toyota Motor /quotes/comstock/13*!tm/quotes/nls/tm (TM 77.14, -2.63, -3.30%) expanded its car recall; Nokia /quotes/comstock/13*!nok/quotes/nls/nok (NOK 13.90, +0.98, +7.59%) , up 10% after stronger-than-forecast quarterly profit; and Eastman Kodak /quotes/comstock/13*!ek/quotes/nls/ek (EK 5.56, +0.81, +17.05%) , up nearly 18% after a profit from the ex-Dow component.

However, the auto industry was hit with another recall, as Ford has stopped production of its full-size commercial vehicles in China after discovering that the gas pedal used came from the supplier involved in the recall at Toyota, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On the downside, Qualcomm /quotes/comstock/15*!qcom/quotes/nls/qcom (QCOM 40.80, -6.40, -13.56%) tumbled nearly 9% on a cut sales outlook, and Nokia rival Motorola /quotes/comstock/13*!mot/quotes/nls/mot (MOT 6.59, -0.81, -10.94%) dropped on a worse-than-forecast quarter.

After the close, Microsoft /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 29.03, -0.64, -2.15%) and Amazon.com /quotes/comstock/15*!amzn/quotes/nls/amzn (AMZN 124.33, +1.58, +1.29%) report results.

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes were steady at 3.65%, and the dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.92, +0.24, +0.31%) rose slightly.

Platinum futures surged by $26 an ounce, while crude oil futures rose 44 cents a barrel.

On an event-filled Wednesday -- the Fed growing more optimistic on the economy as it held rates, Apple /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 200.56, -7.32, -3.52%) introducing the iPad, Toyota Motor /quotes/comstock/13*!tm/quotes/nls/tm (TM 77.14, -2.63, -3.30%) recalling cars, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner defending the AIG bailout and several earnings -- U.S. stocks rose, with the Dow industrials rising 41 points, the Nasdaq Composite adding 17 points and the S&P 500 growing 5 points.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.


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