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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Indications: Futures climb as Goldman blasts through estimates

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By Barbara Kollmeyer & Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures climbed Tuesday as Goldman Sachs, facing a second regulatory probe, topped analyst earnings estimates by a large margin.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.8 points to 1,200.40 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.25 points to 2,020.20. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25 points.

Goldman Sachs /quotes/comstock/13*!gs/quotes/nls/gs (GS 163.32, +2.62, +1.63%) shares rose 1% in premarket trade in the immediate aftermath to reporting a stronger-than-forecast $3.5 billion profit. See Goldman Sachs story.

Douglas Sipkin, an analyst at Ticonderoga Securities, noted that Goldman's return on assets was better than any quarter last year while leverage was flat at 12 times.

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The U.K. Financial Services Authority separately opened a fresh probe into the firm, citing the Securities and Exchange Commission allegation of fraud. See story on U.K. probe.

"It will be an uphill battle fighting the SEC and potential other claims. However, fundamentals should prevail over time," he said.

As a number of firms reported results, UnitedHealth /quotes/comstock/13*!unh/quotes/nls/unh (UNH 31.23, +0.50, +1.63%) climbed over 4% after topping earnings estimates.

Apple /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 247.07, -0.33, -0.13%) also rose, ahead of its report due after the close of trade.

On the downside, shares of International Business Machines /quotes/comstock/13*!ibm/quotes/nls/ibm (IBM 132.23, +1.60, +1.22%) fell 1.9% after the technology giant's new service contract signings showed a decline. See IBM results

Coca-Cola /quotes/comstock/13*!ko/quotes/nls/ko (KO 55.32, +0.35, +0.64%) fell 1.5% as the beverage giant reported first-quarter sales below expectations.

Automakers led Europe stocks higher as Daimler /quotes/comstock/13*!dai/quotes/nls/dai (DAI 52.27, +2.82, +5.70%) raised its 2010 outlook, while airlines took back some recent losses as some airspace in Europe reopened. The Daimler news was released during Monday's U.S. session. See Daimler results See Europe airlines

In Asia, bourses were buoyed by Wall Street's gains on Tuesday, with regional financial and airline stocks recovering some of the prior day's losses.

Crude oil futures rose as did most metals futures. The dollar /quotes/comstock/21o!x:susdjpy (CUR_USDYEN 92.9000, +0.4900, +0.5302%) rose by 0.5% on the Japanese yen.

U.S. stocks finished higher in see-saw trade on Monday, helped by a rebound in financial stocks such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs a couple of hours before the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 73.39 points, or 0.7%, to 11,092.05, and the S&P 500 also finished stronger, while the Nasdaq Composite ended with a slight fall.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.


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