MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures flat ahead of GDP, housing data

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures traded little changed on Wednesday, as investors awaited data on economic growth and existing home sales for more clues on the state of the recovery.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,469, -2.00, -0.02%)  were flat at 11,471 and S&P 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,251, 0.00, 0.00%)  were virtually unchanged at 1,250.80.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,233, -2.00, -0.09%)  edged down 2 points to 2,233.20.

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The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,533, +55.03, +0.48%)  rose 0.5% on Tuesday to end at 11,533.16, its highest closing value since August 29, 2008.

The third estimate of U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. The market expects annualized growth to be revised upward to 2.8%, up from a previous estimate of 2.5%.

After the market opens, at 10 a.m. Eastern, data on November existing home sales will be released.

On the corporate front, drugstore chain Walgreen Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!wag/quotes/nls/wag (WAG 36.83, -0.45, -1.21%)  is scheduled to report quarterly results before the opening bell.

Shares of Nike Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!nke/quotes/nls/nke (NKE 92.30, +2.03, +2.25%)  may be active. The apparel and footwear firm reported late Tuesday a fiscal second-quarter profit of $457 million, or 94 cents a share, up from $375 million, or 76 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue also increased.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 28.07, +0.26, +0.93%)  could be in focus. The software giant is reportedly planning to roll out a version of its Windows operating system that will compliment chips designed by U.K.-based ARM Holdings /quotes/comstock/15*!armh/quotes/nls/armh (ARMH 19.78, +1.22, +6.57%) /quotes/comstock/15*!armh/quotes/nls/armh (ARMH 19.78, +1.22, +6.57%) /quotes/comstock/15*!armh/quotes/nls/armh (ARMH 19.78, +1.22, +6.57%) , according to media reports. U.S.-listed shares of ARM rose 3%.

European stocks traded near the flat line, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 281.56, +0.45, +0.16%)  gaining 0.1% in intraday trading.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.44, -0.28, -0.34%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, dropped 0.4% to 80.421.

In the commodity markets, gold futures gained 90 cents to $1,389.70 an ounce in electronic trading. Oil futures added 36 cents to $90.18 a barrel.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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