MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, January 22, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures wobble as GE, others report

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

MADRID (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures pulled back from earlier gains on Friday, with investors turning their focus to results from General Electric and others, after the rout in the previous session owing to threats of profit-hindering regulation for banks.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 40 points to 10,298. Those for the S&P 500 were down 3.10 points to 1,108, and futures for the Nasdaq 100 were flat at 1,841.

U.S. stocks suffered their worst one-day decline in nearly three months Thursday as bank shares tumbled under the threat of new regulations, and the basic-materials sector fell on global tightening worries. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 213.27 points or 2%, in its second straight triple-digit point decline.

Asia stocks suffered sharp losses Friday, focused on commodity-linked shares and financials overnight, while Europe was also down with banks lower.

Shares of Barclays /quotes/comstock/13*!bcs/quotes/nls/bcs (BCS 18.22, -1.56, -7.89%) fell in London, while Bank of America /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 15.47, -1.02, -6.19%) and J.P. Morgan Chase /quotes/comstock/13*!jpm/quotes/nls/jpm (JPM 40.54, -2.86, -6.59%) saw marginal losses ahead of the open.

GE /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 16.02, -0.48, -2.91%) led the pack of firms releasing results Friday, posting fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents a share on revenue of $41.4 billion, just past what analysts were expecting. Shares in GE rose over 2% in preopen trade. The company said it sees solid growth in 2011 and beyond.

McDonald's /quotes/comstock/13*!mcd/quotes/nls/mcd (MCD 63.20, +0.19, +0.30%) was marginally higher as it reported earnings of $1.10 per share, including an 8 cents a share benefit. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.01 a share.

Google /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 582.98, +2.57, +0.44%) fell 3.7% as the Internet services giant's nearly $2 billion in profits didn't top some expectations.

Gold futures were down $13 to $1,090.30 an ounce, while crude oil futures fell 26 cents to $75.82 a barrel. Concerns over weak energy demand continued to weigh on crude.

The dollar was under pressure, giving up some of the week's gains versus major rivals. Analysts said investors were unwinding some risk after jitters caused by Obama's bank proposals. The yen has tended to benefit the most when risk appetite declines.

"I think a lot of people had been making a lot of profit on long dollar positions this week probably wanted to take all risk off the table going into the weekend when there's such a dramatic announcement as this," Elizabeth Gregory, currency strategist at ACM in Geneva said.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid.


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