- Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures higher, but Apple shares drop

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures were mostly higher on Tuesday ahead of Citigroup Inc.’s earnings report, while Apple Inc.’s shares fell in premarket trading, weighing on the technology sector.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,755, +30.00, +0.26%)  gained 32 points to 11,757 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,292, +2.40, +0.19%)  rose 2.20 points to 1,291.60.

U.S. markets were closed Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. Asian markets finished mostly higher overnight and European stocks rose in intraday trading Tuesday.

Steve Jobs to take medical leave

Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs told employees in an email Monday that he will be taking a medical leave of absence.

Investors are awaiting fourth-quarter results from banking giant Citigroup /quotes/comstock/13*!c/quotes/nls/c (C 5.13, +0.09, +1.79%) . Analysts polled by FactSet Research expect earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $20.57 billion.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!dal/quotes/nls/dal (DAL 12.75, +0.14, +1.11%)  will be the first major carrier to report earnings. Analysts expect the airline to swing to a profit of 25 cents a share.

On the economic front, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for January is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. After the market opens, the NAHB Housing Market Index for January will be released.

Apple weighs on technology sector

Bucking the positive trend, futures on the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,308, -12.25, -0.53%)  fell 11.25 points to 2,308.70.

Shares of Apple /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 348.48, +2.80, +0.81%)  slumped 4% in premarket trading after its Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs announced Monday that he will take a medical leave of absence to focus on his health. He will retain his CEO post and remain involved in big decisions for the company.

After the closing bell, Apple is expected to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $5.41 a share, up from $3.67 a share in the same period a year ago, according to analysts polled by FactSet Research.

Also in the technology sector, International Business Machines Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!ibm/quotes/nls/ibm (IBM 150.00, +1.18, +0.79%)  is due to report earnings later on Tuesday.

U.S.-listed shares of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!gsk/quotes/nls/gsk (GSK 39.18, +0.30, +0.77%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:gsk (UK:GSK 1,182, -23.00, -1.91%)  dropped 2.5% in premarket trading after it said late Monday that it will take a charge of around $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter to cover legal costs.

In the currency markets, the greenback fell against most of its major rivals, with the dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.87, -0.47, -0.59%)  trading down 0.6% to 78.853.

The euro rallied 1% to $1.3393, buoyed by news that Russia may lift its ban on buying Spanish sovereign debt.

The British pound advanced 0.8% to $1.6034, rising after data showed that the U.K.’s annual inflation rose 3.7% in December from the same month in 2009, and up from 3.3% in November.

Crude oil for February delivery gained 16 cents to $91.70. The International Energy Agency on Tuesday raised its forecast for global oil demand this year, citing strong consumption in emerging markets.

And gold futures rose $7 to $1,367.50 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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