- Pre-Market Indications

Friday, October 15, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures rise after Bernanke, data

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By William L. Watts and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures turned higher Friday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a case for further monetary easing to help the recovery.

Separately, early economic data showed that inflation remained benign in September, while retail sales gained 0.1% during the month. An index of manufacturing in the New York region jumped more than expected in October.

Speaking in Boston at the Fed’s annual conference, Bernanke “is reiterating the recent message from himself and a majority of the Fed’s belief that another round of asset purchases will likely come on Nov. 3 as the Fed won’t wait for another downturn in economic activity,” wrote Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. Read about what Bernanke said.


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Off before Bernanke began speaking, S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,171, -3.00, -0.26%)  lately added 3.5 points to 1,177. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,022, -30.00, -0.27%)  gained 30 points to 11,082, while Nasdaq Composite futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,079, +17.00, +0.82%)  were up 11 points to 2,073.

The prospect of more quantitative easing has helped to boost investors’ appetite for risk, which translates into gains for equities.

On the corporate front, General Electric Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 16.28, -0.88, -5.12%)  reported an 18% decline in quarterly profit, but noted an improving economic environment. Read about GE’s results.

Data on business inventories and consumer sentiment are set for release later in the day.

After four sessions of gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,037, -57.52, -0.52%)  lost 1.51 points Thursday to close at 11,094.57. The S&P 500 Index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,172, -1.82, -0.16%)  fell 4.29 points to 1,173.81, while the Nasdaq Composite Index /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,454, +18.77, +0.77%)  shed 5.85 points to 2,435.38 for its first decline in six sessions.

Shares of Google Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 598.48, +57.55, +10.64%)  rallied in thin premarket trading after the Internet-search giant reported a 32% rise in third-quarter profit after Thursday’s closing bell, beating Wall Street estimates.

Shares of Seagate Technology Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!stx/quotes/nls/stx (STX 15.14, +2.45, +19.31%)  surged in premarket trading. The hard-disk-drive maker said it’s in talks with an unnamed company about going private and its board was evaluating other alternatives.

Toy maker Mattel Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!mat/quotes/nls/mat (MAT 22.24, -1.76, -7.33%)  posted higher results, but missed Wall Street forecasts.

Advanced Micro Devices /quotes/comstock/13*!amd/quotes/nls/amd (AMD 7.08, -0.06, -0.83%)  said after Thursday’s closing bell that its third-quarter loss narrowed, while revenue rose by nearly 16%.

The dollar remained on the defensive on expectations that the Fed will implement more quantitative easing. The euro rose 0.7% versus the U.S. unit to trade at $1.4139. The dollar fell 0.6% versus the Japanese currency to trade at 76.227 yen.

Gold fell, with the December futures /quotes/comstock/21e!f:gc\z10 (GCZ10 1,375, -2.50, -0.18%)  contract off $1.7 to $1.375.90 an ounce in electronic trade.

European stocks were mostly higher Friday, with retail stocks in focus after trading updates from some big names.

The French CAC 40 index /quotes/comstock/30t!i:px1 (FR:PX1 3,827, +8.20, +0.21%)  rose 0.1%, and the German DAX 30 index /quotes/comstock/30p!dax (DX:DAX 6,492, +37.03, +0.57%)  gained 0.2%, although London’s FTSE 100 index /quotes/comstock/23i!i:ukx (UK:UKX 5,703, -23.84, -0.42%)  slipped 0.3%.

William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch in London. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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