MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, September 17, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures rise on Oracle, RIM

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By Kate Gibson and Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures on Friday pointed to opening gains on Wall Street as investors found reason for enthusiasm, particularly in the technology sector, after robust results from Research In Motion Ltd. and Oracle Corp.

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Also bolstering sentiment, health-care products giant Johnson & Johnson /quotes/comstock/13*!jnj/quotes/nls/jnj (JNJ 61.23, -0.06, -0.10%)  on Friday said it was in late-stage negotiations to purchase Dutch biotech firm for $2.29 billion.

Futures displayed muted reaction to data pointing to a 0.3% rise in consumer prices in August, while prices excluding energy and food costs held flat, close to expectations.

“A flat core CPI gives the Fed the belief that they have a license to continue their extraordinary policies but here’s perspective, the CPI is up 29% over the past 10 years and is down 0.6% from its record high,” wrote Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

“And they call that deflation,” he added.

Off session highs that had it up more than 100 points, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/19*!dy10z (DJZ10 10,550, +45.00, +0.43%)  rose 37 points to 10,655.

S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f1:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,119, -3.60, -0.32%)  rose 3.60 points to 1,126.2 and Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 1,950, +0.25, +0.01%)  advanced 8.75 points to 1,958.5.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,589, -6.01, -0.06%)  eked out small gains on Thursday. It ended up 0.2%, bringing its month-to-date gains to 5.8%.

Most Asian markets finished higher Friday, and European stocks posted solid gains in afternoon trading. Demand for gold, meanwhile, continued unabated, with December futures /quotes/comstock/21e!f:gc\z10 (GCZ10 1,278, +3.80, +0.30%)  climbing to new highs above $1,280 an ounce.

Gold is a traditional safe haven and investor interest in it highlights the depth of economic concerns remaining in the markets.

“Yesterday we had some very good earnings releases. Oracle was a big surprise to the upside,” said Christian Tegllund Blaabjerg, chief equity strategist at Saxo Bank in Denmark.

FedEx Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!fdx/quotes/nls/fdx (FDX 82.17, -0.55, -0.66%)  also reported that international demand is picking up, easing concerns over a possible double-dip recession, which has been a key worry for the markets lately, he added.

”Also, Research In Motion came out with better results than expected,” Blaabjerg said. “Two tech companies coming out with better results than expected and a transportation company saying that international demand is picking up â€" this is the news the market was looking for.”

After the markets closed on Thursday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion /quotes/comstock/15*!rimm/quotes/nls/rimm (RIMM 47.27, +0.78, +1.67%)  reported sharp increases in fiscal second-quarter net profit and revenue that exceeded analyst expectations. Shares of the firm rallied in premarket trade on Friday.

Also in the technology sector, Oracle /quotes/comstock/15*!orcl/quotes/nls/orcl (ORCL 27.04, +1.68, +6.62%)  said quarterly profit rose sharply, beating market estimates. Oracle shares also gained in premarket trade.

Texas Instruments Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!txn/quotes/nls/txn (TXN 25.61, +0.63, +2.52%)  jumped in premarket trading after the chip maker announced plans to repurchase more of its shares.

After the market opens, the University of Michigan preliminary consumer-sentiment index for September will be released.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 81.41, +0.17, +0.21%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, edged up to 81.313.

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Polya Lesova is reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.

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