- Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures slip on Apple, China’s rate move

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By William L. Watts and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock-index futures fell Tuesday after Apple Inc. offered a conservative forecast and China’s central bank moved to raise its key lending rate for the first time since December 2007.

“There’s a bit of a reaction to Apple’s earnings on a forward basis, but I’m not overly concerned about a stock that’s gone from $250 to $320 from the start of September,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.

Wall Street also reacted negatively to China’s rate hike as the country struggles to keep a lid on inflation. Hogan downplayed the move, saying it didn’t indicate anything negative about the growth rate of China’s economy.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,936, -7.00, -0.06%)  fell 41 points to 11,006, while S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,163, -0.50, -0.04%)  declined 7.2 points to 1,171. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,067, -27.00, -1.29%)  dropped 25 points to 2,069.5.

Bank of America Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 11.80, -0.54, -4.38%)  reported a surprise loss, attributing it to a one-time charge related to credit- and debit-card reform legislation. But its shares gained as the bank’s operating results topped forecasts. Read about Bank of America’s results.

Apple /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 309.50, -8.50, -2.67%)  blew away Wall Street forecasts for its fiscal fourth quarter as earnings soared on strong iPhone sales. Sales of the iPad, however, fell short of expectations, and the company offered a conservative forecast for the current quarter when it reported results after Monday’s closing bell. Read about Apple’s results.


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Also in the technology sector, IBM /quotes/comstock/13*!ibm/quotes/nls/ibm (IBM 138.03, -4.80, -3.36%)  reported late Monday that third-quarter profit rose to $3.6 billion, or $2.82 a share, from $3.2 billion, or $2.40 a share, in the same period last year. Revenue rose 3% to $24.3 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research had produced a consensus forecast for earnings of $2.76 a share on $24.2 billion in revenue. Read about IBM’s results.

Banking giant Goldman Sachs Group /quotes/comstock/13*!gs/quotes/nls/gs (GS 156.72, +3.02, +1.96%)  also reported quarterly results that topped estimates.

UnitedHealth Group /quotes/comstock/13*!unh/quotes/nls/unh (UNH 35.30, -0.95, -2.62%) , the Minneapolis-based health-care-services provider, said third-quarter net income rose 23% on a 9.1% increase in revenue.

The economic calendar remains light. September housing starts rose 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted 610,000 annualized units, much stronger than economists had expected.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,979, -165.07, -1.48%)  rose 80.91 points to close at 11,143.69, its highest close since May 3. The S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,166, -18.81, -1.59%)  ended at 1,184.71, up 8.52 points. The Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,437, -43.71, -1.76%)  advanced 11.89 points, or 0.5%, to 2,480.66.

The dollar remained on the rise after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. government wasn’t seeking to devalue the currency. The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.19, +1.26, +1.64%) , a measure of the unit against a basket of major currencies, rose to 77.734. The euro was lower at $1.3851.

Gold futures lost ground as the dollar continued to rebound, falling $17.1 to trade at $1.355 an ounce in electronic trade.

Oil futures were also lower in electronic dealings, falling $1.31 to $81.77 a barrel.

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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