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Friday, January 21, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures rise as GE, Google beat

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By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures edged higher Friday following strong results from General Electric Co. and Google Inc., though Bank of America Corp. shares lost ground in premarket trading after its earnings missed expectations.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,812, +38.00, +0.32%)  rose 27 points to 11,801 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,283, +6.80, +0.53%)  climbed 4.30 points to 1,280.50.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,296, +14.50, +0.64%)  were up 7.50 points at 2,289.00.

The moves came after U.S. markets closed slightly lower on Thursday amid worries of further tightening measures from China.

The Dow ended Thursday down 2.49 points.

H-P board shake-up draws praise

Dan Gallagher and Ben Pimentel discuss what Hewlett-Packard’s announcement that four members of its board are leaving means for the tech giant, and how it relates to Mark Hurd.

Corporate earnings will be the main focus of attention after Google /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 626.77, -4.98, -0.79%)  late Thursday reported earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and said co-founder Larry Page will become the group’s chief executive officer as of early April. Read more on Google’s results and the board shake-up.

Shares in Google were up 1.4% in premarket trading.

General Electric Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 18.43, +0.10, +0.55%)  also rose in premarket action. The stock gained 4.4% after the industrial giant reported earnings from continuing operations of 36 cents a share in the latest quarter, comfortably ahead of the 32 cents consensus forecast.

Bank of America /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 14.54, +0.17, +1.18%) , however, dropped 1% before the open after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.2 billion, including a $2 billion goodwill impairment charge.

Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin, said the trend so far has been one of strong earnings from industrial, materials and technology companies, with only the financial sector largely disappointing investors.

“GE was quite good, and it’s a bellwether on the economy,” Lenhoff said.

“It seems the results of the financial sector have little to do with what’s going on in the underlying economy,” he added.

Also late Thursday, Hewlett-Packard Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!hpq/quotes/nls/hpq (HPQ 46.78, +0.46, +0.99%)  announced several changes to its board, including the appointment of Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!ebay/quotes/nls/ebay (EBAY 30.78, +1.68, +5.76%) .

With little on the economic calendar, the dollar continued its recent slide against the euro and was slightly lower against the yen.

The euro rose 0.5% to $1.35273 and the dollar slipped 0.2% against the yen to ¥82.76.

Gold prices edged lower in electronic trading, while crude oil pushed marginally higher.

European markets partially recovered from the previous session’s losses, with the French CAC 40 jumping 1.4% in midday trading.

Asian markets ended mostly lower, including a 1.6% drop for Japan’s Nikkei 225 Average, though China’s Shanghai Composite bucked the trend to end 1.4% higher.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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