MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, October 1, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures rise after economic data

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By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures rose Friday after a Federal Reserve official said further action is likely due from the central bank and the first round of U.S. economic data showed August gains in personal income and spending.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 10,760, +37.00, +0.35%)  advanced 50 points to 10,773 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,140, +3.50, +0.31%)  rose 6.70 points to 1,143.4.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 1,997, +1.00, +0.05%)  added 15 points to 2,010.5.

U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday, but the Dow industrials /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,820, +31.60, +0.29%)  gained 7.7% last month, the best September performance since 1939 when the blue-chip barometer rose 13.5%.

Asian stocks finished mostly higher overnight, underpinned by data showing an acceleration in China’s manufacturing activity. The official Chinese purchasing mangers index rose to a reading of 53.8 in September from 51.7 the previous month.

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European equities were also mostly higher in intraday trading, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 258.84, -0.88, -0.34%)  rising 0.1%.

The key economic report of the day will come after the opening bell on Wall Street, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, when the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for September will be released.

Most analysts expect the index to decline to 54.5 from 56.3 in August, according to Deutsche Bank, whose economists expect a reading of 54.

The Chicago-area purchasing managers index unexpectedly rose in September, data showed on Thursday.

“Despite some fairly consistent regional manufacturing weakness, yesterday’s Chicago index suggests that anything is possible from today’s manufacturing ISM,” analysts at ING said in a note to clients.

If the ISM data are much weaker than the consensus forecast, “we should see bond yields move lower again, helped by expectations that a new bout of QE [quantitative easing] might be unleashed â€" perhaps as early as the November FOMC meeting,” they said.

Car manufacturers will be in Friday’s focus, as they are scheduled to report sales numbers for September.

Meanwhile, shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 40.47, -1.60, -3.80%)  fell in premarket trading. The tech giant said late Thursday that Leo Apotheker has been appointed as chief executive and president. Apotheker previously served as CEO of Germany’s SAP AG /quotes/comstock/13*!sap/quotes/nls/sap (SAP 50.22, +0.91, +1.85%) .

Shares of Spanish oil and gas firm Repsol YPF /quotes/comstock/13*!rep/quotes/nls/rep (REP 27.34, +1.61, +6.25%)   /quotes/comstock/06x!e:rep (ES:REP 19.83, +0.94, +4.95%)  rallied in premarket trading. The company said that China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. /quotes/comstock/22h!e:386 (HK:386 6.88, +0.01, +0.15%)   /quotes/comstock/13*!snp/quotes/nls/snp (SNP 89.31, +1.03, +1.17%)  will buy a 40% stake in Repsol’s Brazilian upstream subsidiary for $7.1 billion. Repsol will retain 60% of the resulting company, which is valued at $17.8 billion.

BP PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bp/quotes/nls/bp (BP 41.95, +0.78, +1.89%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:bp. (UK:BP. 440.50, +12.70, +2.97%)  was also in the energy sector’s focus, after saying it has pledged assets as collateral for the $20 billion trust set up to pay claims arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The total cost of the spill response has risen to $11.2 billion, the company added.

On the earnings front, technology and outsourcing firm Accenture PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!acn/quotes/nls/acn (ACN 44.58, +2.09, +4.91%)  reported late Thursday an increase in fiscal fourth-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates. The stock rose 4% in premarket trading.

Shares of Gymboree Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!gymb/quotes/nls/gymb (GYMB 48.82, +7.28, +17.53%)  surged in premarket trading. The Wall Street Journal reported that Gymboree is exploring interest in a possible sale to private-equity companies.

Crude-oil futures gained, while the U.S. dollar fell against other major currencies.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.20, -0.53, -0.67%)  dropped 0.5% to 78.299. The euro rallied 0.7% to $1.3723; the British pound gained 0.7% to $1.5837.

Crude oil for November delivery rose $1.25 to $81.22 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.

December gold futures, meanwhile, gained $6.10 to $1,315.70 an ounce.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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