MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Indications: U.S. futures scale back small rise on GDP

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures trimmed limited gains Wednesday, reacting to data showing the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.6% annual rate in the third quarter, an upward revision that still came in below market expectations.

Up 9 points ahead of the government data, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,490, +19.00, +0.17%)  were lately up 2 points at 11,473 and S&P 500 index futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,253, +2.30, +0.18%)  were fractionally higher at 1,251.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,235, -0.25, -0.01%)  edged down 2 points to 2,233.20.

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The blue-chip Dow industrials /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,556, +22.47, +0.19%)  rose 0.5% on Tuesday to end at 11,533.16, its highest closing level since Aug. 29, 2008.

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

On the corporate front, drugstore chain Walgreen Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!wag/quotes/nls/wag (WAG 39.02, +2.19, +5.95%)  reported first-quarter earnings of 62 cents a share, well ahead of consesnsus estimates calling for a profit of 54 cents.

Shares of Nike Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!nke/quotes/nls/nke (NKE 87.04, -5.26, -5.70%)  slipped after the apparel and footwear giant warned late Tuesday that the industry will experience margin pressure due to rising input costs, overshadowing firm a 22% jump in the company’s second-quarter profit.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 28.20, +0.13, +0.46%)  could also be in focus Wednesday.

The software giant and Dow component is planning to roll out a new version of its Windows operating system that will compliment chips designed by U.K.-based ARM Holdings /quotes/comstock/23s!a:arm (UK:ARM 440.30, +36.80, +9.12%)   /quotes/comstock/15*!armh/quotes/nls/armh (ARMH 20.54, +0.76, +3.84%) , according to media reports.

European stocks traded nearly flat, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 281.45, +0.34, +0.12%)  gaining 0.1% in afternoon trading.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.72, +0.00, +0.00%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, dropped to 80.565.

In the commodity markets, gold futures gained 10 cents to $1,388.9 an ounce in electronic trading, while crude-oil futures added 30 cents to $90.12 a barrel. See more on gold futures turning higher. See more on crude topping the $90-a-barrel level.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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