- Pre-Market Indications

Friday, January 28, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures steady after GDP report

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Simon Kennedy and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures were little changed on Friday after the government reported a jump in consumer spending and exports that had the economy growing 3.2% in the final quarter of 2010.

The rise in GDP fell short of the 3.5% expected by many analysts, and stock-index futures pared their already mild gains after the data.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 11,820, -124.00, -1.04%)  slipped 1 point at 11,943. S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,280, -16.30, -1.26%)  were up nearly 1 point at 1,296.

Futures for the Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,276, -47.50, -2.04%)  rose 4.25 points at 2,327.75.

Asia's week ahead: Sony, Honda

Third-quarter earnings reports from Honda and Sony, as well as an interest-rate decision from Australia will be a focus for Asia next week. MarketWatch's Lisa Twaronite reports.

Most U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,854, -136.27, -1.14%)  again closed short of the elusive 12,000 level. The index hasn’t ended a session above 12,000 since June 19, 2008.

“When you consider the strength of the U.S. markets over the last two months, having risen a whopping 10% since the beginning of December, there comes a point when rising prices have to take a reality check,” said Simon Denham, head of spread betting firm Capital Spreads.

“Our clients are heavily short the indices, in particular the U.S. ones which have had the strongest run,” Denham added in an email.

Among stocks to watch, shares in Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 16.09, -2.70, -14.37%)  slumped in premarket trading after the car maker reported adjusted earnings that missed Wall Street forecasts. /quotes/comstock/15*!amzn/quotes/nls/amzn (AMZN 167.41, -17.04, -9.24%)  also dropped after the online bookseller’s operating margins fell short of market expectations. Read more on Amazon’s results.

Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 27.67, -1.20, -4.16%)  will also be in focus after the software giant posted a slight drop in quarterly profit, but said revenue rose 5% thanks to strong demand for its Kinetic videogame device and Office software. Read more on Microsoft’s latest figures.

Honeywell International Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!hon/quotes/nls/hon (HON 54.84, -1.08, -1.93%)  said its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $369 million, or 47 cents a share, from $163 million, or 20 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

In international markets, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index /quotes/comstock/23i!i:ukx (UK:UKX 5,881, -83.71, -1.40%)  fell 1% in midday trading as losses for mining stocks weighed on the index.

Asian markets closed mostly lower, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 average dropping 1.1% as the market had its first chance to react to Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade Japanese sovereign debt.

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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