MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Indications: Intel results drive gains in U.S. stock futures

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Better-than-expected earnings from microchip giant Intel Corp. propelled U.S. stock futures higher on Wednesday, as investors awaited retail sales data and the release of minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

Futures on the technology-laden Nasdaq 100 surged 15.25 points, or 0.8%, to 1,857.70.

S&P 500 futures added 4 points to 1,093.70 and futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37 points to 10,325.

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The Dow rose 1.4% on Tuesday, ending higher for the sixth day in a row, as strong earnings from aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. buoyed sentiment.

Intel /quotes/comstock/15*!intc/quotes/nls/intc (INTC 21.01, +0.44, +2.14%) said late Tuesday it swung to a second-quarter profit, with sales soaring 34% and beating estimates. The company's chief executive expressed optimism about the global economic recovery. Read more on Intel.

Also in the tech space, chip equipment maker ASML Holding N.V. /quotes/comstock/15*!asml/quotes/nls/asml (ASML 31.27, +0.98, +3.24%) reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings.

The Intel news helped Asian shares posted broad-based gains as Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 2.7%. However, European equities traded mostly lower apart from the technology sector, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 255.24, -0.75, -0.29%) down 0.2% in late morning trade.

FOMC minutes, retail sales ahead

On the economic front, data on June retail sales will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern and the Federal Reserve's FOMC will report minutes from its June 23 meeting at 2 p.m.

"The key focus today will be on U.S. retail sales," said strategists at Deutsche Bank in a note to clients. Analysts expect headline sales to fall by 0.3% in June and sales excluding autos to drop by 0.1%, they said.

"It will be a quiet day for reporting as markets get ready for J.P. Morgan's results on Thursday," the Deutsche Bank strategists added.

Hotel operator Marriott International Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!mar/quotes/nls/mar (MAR 31.87, +0.90, +2.91%) will report quarterly results later on Wednesday.

In Washington, the Treasury will sell $13 billion in 30-year bonds at 1 p.m.

In the commodity markets, August crude-oil futures dropped 41 cents to $76.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, giving back some of their gains after rallying nearly 3% in the previous session.

The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday an unexpected increase of 1.7 million barrels in crude inventories. The Energy Information Administration will release its more closely watched data at 10:30 a.m. Analysts polled by Platts expect a 2.6-million-barrel reduction in commercial crude supplies.

Gold futures edged down $1.10 to $1,212.40 an ounce in electronic trading.

The greenback traded mostly lower against its major rivals. The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 83.49, -0.15, -0.18%) , which tracks the currency's performance against a basket of other currencies, fell 0.1% to 83.587.

The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (CUR_EURUSD 1.2716, -0.0006, -0.0472%) edged down 0.1% to $1.2703.

Polya Lesova is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.

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