MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, October 29, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures gain on busy earnings day

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By Barbara Kollmeyer and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures rose modestly Thursday as a slew of earnings reports delivered mostly upbeat results, with energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp. among the companies topping expectations.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,998, -51.00, -0.46%)  rose 23 points to 11,095, while those for the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,173, -6.50, -0.55%)  advanced 3.6 points to 1,182.4.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,120, -5.50, -0.26%)  gained 5.25 points to 2,129.

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Wall Street finished on a mostly weaker note Wednesday, as the market began to fret over the scope and potential for another round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, which will hold a key meeting next week.

Thursday’s economic calendar includes weekly U.S. jobless claims, which fell 21,000 to 434,000 in the latest week, marking the third straight decline and the lowest level since early July, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims to rise to a seasonally adjusted 450,000.

Exxon Mobil /quotes/comstock/13*!xom/quotes/nls/xom (XOM 66.22, +0.55, +0.84%)  reported a 55% rise in quarterly profit, with the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company beating analysts’ expectations.

Shares of Eastman Kodak Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ek/quotes/nls/ek (EK 4.58, +0.61, +15.37%)   added nearly 7% after the photography and printing company’s quarterly earnings report topped Wall Street estimates.

Motorola Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!mot/quotes/nls/mot (MOT 8.13, +0.04, +0.49%) reported its first year-over-year sales gain since 2006 on revenue from its smart phones.

Chemical manufacturer Dow Chemical Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!dow/quotes/nls/dow (DOW 30.86, -0.35, -1.12%) reported a better-than-anticipated quarterly profit, and so did Colgate-Palmolive Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!cl/quotes/nls/cl (CL 74.92, -0.58, -0.77%) , but Colgate’s shares edged lower in premarket trade after the world’s biggest toothpaste maker said earnings-per-share growth would slow in 2011.

Shares of 3M Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!mmm/quotes/nls/mmm (MMM 85.07, -5.30, -5.86%)  slid 1.5% after the diversified manufacturer lowered its 2010 outlook.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!lvs/quotes/nls/lvs (LVS 44.63, +3.57, +8.69%)  could be in focus after the firm reported better-than-expected results.

Upbeat results from Symantec Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!symc/quotes/nls/symc (SYMC 16.45, +0.65, +4.11%)  could lift shares of the security software maker.

Other potential movers include Sourcefire Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!fire/quotes/nls/fire (FIRE 23.73, -7.26, -23.43%) , as the network-security-software group issued a weak forecast.

Shoe retailer Skechers USA Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!skx/quotes/nls/skx (SKX 19.33, -4.30, -18.20%)  could see pressure after saying in its third-quarter report that it had more inventory than initially expected.

European stocks rose. Gains for Royal Dutch Shell /quotes/comstock/13*!rds.a/quotes/nls/rds.a (RDS.A 63.79, +1.04, +1.66%)   /quotes/comstock/13*!rds.b/quotes/nls/rds.b (RDS.B 63.08, +0.92, +1.48%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!e:rdsa (UK:RDSA 1,995, +8.00, +0.40%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!e:rdsb (UK:RDSB 1,974, +12.00, +0.61%)  helped prop up London markets after the oil giant reported a profit that beat forecasts.

Strong results from drug firm Sanofi-Aventis /quotes/comstock/13*!sny/quotes/nls/sny (SNY 34.79, +0.41, +1.19%)   /quotes/comstock/24s!e:san (FR:SAN 49.82, +0.12, +0.23%)  also boosted sentiment.

In the currency markets, the U.S. dollar fell against its major rivals, with the dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 77.74, +0.43, +0.56%)  slipping 0.5% to 77.741.

Gold for December delivery rose $9.1 to $1,331.7 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex. Oil futures were little changed at $82.09 a barrel.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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