MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures shaky ahead of open

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By Simon Kennedy and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures pointed to an indecisive start Wednesday as Treasury notes fell and the dollar gained on thinking the tax-cut deal would strengthen the economy.

While Wall Street expect the compromise on taxes to bolster growth, it is also expected to add to the budget deficit.

Treasury prices declined, bringing yields on the 10-year note to their highest level since June.

The 10-year yield is a benchmark in determining borrowing costs.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,337, -18.00, -0.16%)  were up 2 points at 11,357 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,225, +1.90, +0.16%)  added 1.6 points to 1,224.8

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,196, +6.00, +0.27%)  were up 5.75 points at 2,195.75.

U.S. stocks ended the day Tuesday broadly flat as a strengthening dollar took the steam out of early enthusiasm over a deal to extend tax cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down around 3 points.

On the corporate front, Texas Instruments /quotes/comstock/13*!txn/quotes/nls/txn (TXN 33.48, +0.07, +0.19%)  late Tuesday narrowed its earnings and revenue forecasts for the fourth quarter. The company expects earnings to be between 61 cents and 65 cents a share, with the midpoint of that range in line with Wall Street forecasts.

Costco /quotes/comstock/15*!cost/quotes/nls/cost (COST 69.31, -0.33, -0.47%)  said its fiscal first-quarter net income rose 18% on 11% higher total sales and 7% higher comparable sales. For the quarter ended Nov. 21, Costco earned $312 million, or 71 cents a share. Analysts had expected earnings of 69 cents a share.

Other shares that could draw attention later in the session include McDonald’s Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!mcd/quotes/nls/mcd (MCD 78.70, -1.64, -2.04%) , which is due to report November sales figures.

Fortune Brands Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!fo/quotes/nls/fo (FO 61.93, +0.78, +1.27%)  said it will split itself into three businesses. The company said it will spin off its home-and-security business and spin off or sell its golf division, while continuing to run its liquor business as a publicly-traded company.

Home Depot Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!hd/quotes/nls/hd (HD 33.95, +0.40, +1.19%)  said it expects adjusted 2010 earnings of $1.97 a share, a slight increase of its previous estimate.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!hot/quotes/nls/hot (HOT 59.67, -0.25, -0.42%)  said it expects earnings per share to grow by between 35% and 42% a year for the next three years.

European markets were also trading in a tight range Wednesday.

The German DAX 30 index slipped 0.2%. See Europe Markets.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed up 0.9% as the weaker yen helped boost export stocks. See Asia Markets.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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