MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Indications: Stock futures rise after Wal-Mart results

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures rose on Tuesday after strong earnings reports from retailing giants Wal-Mart and Home Depot and as Potash Corp. announced it had rejected a $38.6 billion takeover bid from BHP Billiton.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51 points to 10,324 and S&P 500 futures added 7 points to 1,084.10.

Nasdaq 100 futures gained 9.50 points to 1,829.50.

News Hub: After the closing bell

Madeleine Lim and Michael Casey wrap up today's market action, including why stocks ended little changed and why small investors are increasingly seeking the safety of bonds.

Shares of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan /quotes/comstock/13*!pot/quotes/nls/pot (POT 112.15, +0.81, +0.73%) rallied 25% in premarket trading after the firm said it has rejected a $130-a-share cash approach from U.K. mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. /quotes/comstock/13*!bhp/quotes/nls/bhp (BHP 71.94, +0.66, +0.93%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:blt (UK:BLT 1,918, -45.00, -2.29%) . Shares of BHP dropped 1.9%.

Shares of fertilizer group K+S AG rose 5.6% in Frankfurt trading.

On the earnings front, Dow component Wal-Mart /quotes/comstock/13*!wmt/quotes/nls/wmt (WMT 50.41, +0.01, +0.02%) reported second-quarter earnings of 97 cents a share, which beat expectations of 96 cents a share. The retailer also raised its full-year outlook.

"Earnings news from Wal-Mart in the U.S. will be a highlight for many -- the retail giant acting as an economic barometer in its own right," said Ben Potter, market strategist at IG Markets, in a note.

Home Depot Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!hd/quotes/nls/hd (HD 27.38, +0.07, +0.26%) , the Atlanta home-improvement retailing giant, said its fiscal second-quarter net profit rose nearly 7% to $1.19 billion, or 72 cents a share, from the year-earlier period. Shares of Home Depot gained 1% in premarket trade.

On the economic front, data on housing starts and producer prices for July are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, to be followed by a report on industrial production at 9:15 a.m.

The Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,302, -1.14, -0.01%) and the S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,079, +0.13, +0.01%) ended virtually flat on Monday, as traders digested manufacturing data from the New York region and weaker-than-expected economic growth in Japan.

European stocks posted broad-based gains, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 257.27, +1.66, +0.65%) rising 0.7% in intraday trade.

Danish brewing giant Carlsberg /quotes/comstock/11i!cabgy (CABGY 17.25, +0.17, +1.00%) lifted its full-year profit forecast, as it reported a 36% rise in quarterly net profit. See more on Carlsberg.

In the financial sector, Barclays PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bcs/quotes/nls/bcs (BCS 19.85, +0.14, +0.71%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:barc (UK:BARC 326.30, +8.00, +2.51%) agreed to pay $298 million to settle U.S. charges that it helped countries facing sanctions, including Cuba and Iran, to hide payments going into the U.S., according to reports.

In Germany, the ZEW business-climate index fell unexpectedly in August from the previous month. Economists had forecast the index to hold steady.

In the debt markets, Ireland auctioned 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in government bonds, the maximum amount on offer. The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (EURUSD 1.2876, +0.0054, +0.4212%) gained 0.5% to $1.2881.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 82.21, -0.32, -0.39%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, dropped 0.4% to 82.177.

Oil futures gained 90 cents, or 1.2%, to $76.14 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. Gold futures added $2.30 to $1,228.50 an ounce.

Most Asian markets finished with modest gains; a notable exception was Japan, where the Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.4%.

Polya Lesova is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.

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