MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, January 24, 2011

Indications: U.S. futures edge up as McDonald’s matches

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By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures edged up Monday, the start of a heavy earnings week, as results from McDonald’s Corp. matched Wall Street’s expectations.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,930, +108.00, +0.91%)  gained 11 points to 11,833, and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,287, +7.60, +0.59%)  were up 2.1 points to 1,281.80.

Shares of fast-food giant McDonald’s /quotes/comstock/13*!mcd/quotes/nls/mcd (MCD 75.42, +0.41, +0.55%)   slipped 1% after the Dow component reported fourth-quarter revenue in line with expectations.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,299, +29.50, +1.30%)  added 3 points to 2,272.

On Friday, the blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,956, +84.42, +0.71%)  ended up 0.4%, gaining 0.7% for the week and finishing higher for the eighth week in a row.

No major economic data were scheduled for release Monday, so the spotlight will fall on a string of high-profile quarterly reports.

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“With the lack of economic data, a lot of trading will be around technicals today,” said Christian Tegllund Blaabjerg, chief equity strategist at Saxo Bank.

A break below the 10-day moving average for the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,289, +6.03, +0.47%)  could trigger profit-taking, he said.

“In order for this [market] trend to keep going higher, we need some solid earnings,” Blaabjerg added.

Oilfield-services group Halliburton Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hal/quotes/nls/hal (HAL 39.67, +0.48, +1.22%)  reported sharp increases in fourth-quarter profit and revenue from the year-earlier period. Shares of Halliburton gained 1% in premarket trading.

After the market closes, credit-card firm American Express Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!axp/quotes/nls/axp (AXP 45.77, -0.23, -0.50%)  and semiconductor company Texas Instruments Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!txn/quotes/nls/txn (TXN 34.37, +0.46, +1.36%)  will release their results.

Transportation firm CSX Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!csx/quotes/nls/csx (CSX 67.54, -0.10, -0.15%)  is also due to report quarterly results.

In premarket trading, U.S.-listed shares of Royal Philips Electronics /quotes/comstock/13*!phg/quotes/nls/phg (PHG 31.74, -1.70, -5.08%)   /quotes/comstock/24s!e:phia (NL:PHIA 23.23, -1.34, -5.45%)  slumped after the Dutch electronics group reported quarterly profit that missed market expectations.

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Rock Tenn Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!rkt/quotes/nls/rkt (RKT 59.13, +1.95, +3.41%)  said it will buy packaging firm Smurfit Stone Container Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!sscc/quotes/nls/sscc (SSCC 34.92, +7.40, +26.89%)  in a deal worth about $3.5 billion.

Pharmaceutical major Sanofi-Aventis SA /quotes/comstock/13*!sny/quotes/nls/sny (SNY 34.62, +0.09, +0.26%)   /quotes/comstock/24s!e:san (FR:SAN 50.98, +0.11, +0.22%)  said it has extended its offer for Genzyme Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!genz/quotes/nls/genz (GENZ 71.36, -0.22, -0.31%)  until Feb. 15. All other terms and conditions of the $69-a-share offer remain unchanged.

Department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!jcp/quotes/nls/jcp (JCP 32.35, +2.01, +6.62%)  announced restructuring measures that include closing several stores.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.7%, while China’s Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.7% as concerns about further policy tightening continued to weigh on the market.

European equities were mostly lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 281.99, +0.73, +0.26%)  falling 0.2% in intraday trading.

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

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