MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures slip as economic data awaits

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By William L. Watts, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock-index futures were slightly lower Tuesday, as investors moved to the sidelines amid a further round of corporate earnings and upcoming data on house prices and consumer confidence.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,080, -35.00, -0.31%)  fell 20 points to 11,095, while S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,181, -2.30, -0.19%)  slipped 2.5 points to 1,180.3. Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,115, +6.50, +0.31%)  fell 2.5 points to 2,106..

Markets appear set for “a little bit of consolidation from what’s been a decent rally in the last few days,” said Heino Ruland, strategist at Ruland Research.

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Concerns about foreclosure problems at U.S. banks continue to cast a cloud over the financial sector, Ruland said, while disappointing results from the investment-banking arm of Swiss banking giant UBS AG /quotes/comstock/06p!ubsn (CH:UBSN 16.76, -0.88, -4.99%)   /quotes/comstock/13*!ubs/quotes/nls/ubs (UBS 16.88, -1.04, -5.80%)  did nothing to help the tone.

Shares of UBS, which saw its overall profit top forecasts, fell more than 5% on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Read about UBS's results.

Shares of Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 14.34, +0.19, +1.34%)  were 1.3% lower in pre-market trading.

The automaker said its third-quarter net income rose to $1.7 billion, or 43 cents a share, from $997 million, or 29 cents a share in the same period last year, while revenue fell slightly to $29 billion from $30.3 billion. Adjusted earnings were 48 cents a share. Analysts had forecast net income of 36 cents a share on revenues of $27.9 billion, according to FactSet.

DuPont Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!dd/quotes/nls/dd (DD 47.00, -0.70, -1.47%)  on Tuesday topped forecasts by reporting third-quarter net profit of $367 million, or 40 cents a share, versus $409 million, or 45 cents a year ago. A survey of Wall Street analysts by FactSet Research had produced a consensus forecast of 33 cents share. The company also boosted its outlook for 2010 adjusted earnings.

Investors will be watching Texas Instruments /quotes/comstock/13*!txn/quotes/nls/txn (TXN 28.84, -0.14, -0.48%) , which said after Monday’s closing bell that it expects fourth-quarter revenue to decline from third-quarter levels.

Drugmaker Amgen /quotes/comstock/15*!amgn/quotes/nls/amgn (AMGN 57.10, -0.85, -1.47%)  late Monday reaffirmed its outlook for 2010 adjusted earnings at the lower end of the range of $5.05 to $5.25 a share, with revenue “slightly below” $15.1 billion.

On the economic front, Case-Shiller home price data for August is set for release at 9 a.m. Eastern, while the Conference Board’s consumer confidence figures for October are due at 10 a.m.

European stocks were mostly lower, dragged down by UBS. Read Europe Markets for more.

U.S. stocks gained ground Monday, extending October gains, as investors remained focused on prospects for additional monetary easing by the Federal Reserve at its November meeting. A weekend gathering of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations failed to stem the decline of the U.S. dollar, feeding risk appetite and boosting equities and commodities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,158, -6.28, -0.06%)  closed Monday with a gain of 31.49 points at 11,164.05.

The dollar gained ground on the Japanese yen /quotes/comstock/21o!x:susdjpy (USDYEN 81.5300, +0.7700, +0.9534%)  , rising 0.4% to trade at ¥81.14.

The British pound rose 1.1% to $1.5873 after data showed that U.K. gross domestic product grew a stronger-than-expected 0.8% in the third quarter.

Gold futures fell $3.70 to trade at $1,335.20 an ounce in electronic dealings. Oil futures slipped 16 cents to trade at $82.36 a barrel.

William L. Watts is a reporter for MarketWatch in London.

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