- Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indications: U.S. futures lower after economic data

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Polya Lesova and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures pointed to an opening dip for Wall Street on Tuesday after data showed retail sales increased less than expected in January and increases in Chinese and U.K. inflation.

Stock-index futures furthered mild declines after the Commerce Department reported retail sales last month climbed 0.3%, the softest reading since the middle of 2010.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 12,210, -14.00, -0.11%)  fell 12 points to 12,212 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,325, -2.80, -0.21%)   were off 2 points at 1,325.70.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,380, -1.75, -0.07%)  were down 3.5 points at 2,378.25.

China inflation milder than expected

China's January inflation will continue to keep Beijing on tightening watch.

A separate report had the Empire State manufacturing survey rising to 15.4 in February from 11.9 in January.

After the market opens, at 10 a.m. Eastern, business inventories for December and the NAHB housing market index for February are due.

In Asia overnight, stock markets ended mixed after data showed that Chinese consumer inflation rose 4.9% in January from a year earlier which was below forecasts for a 5.4% rise.

And in the U.K. annual consumer price inflation increased to 4% in January from 3.7% in December.

“The markets are for the moment taking it [the inflation data] in stride,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.

“Short-term inflation is actually positive for equities since interest rates in Europe and here in the U.S. are not going up,” he said. “With rates being so low, top-line inflation lures money into the equity markets.”

The inflation data buoyed gold, which is seen as a hedge against inflation. Gold futures rose $10.60 to $1,375.60 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex.

In other economic news, gross domestic product in the euro zone expanded by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the preceding three months, Eurostat reported Tuesday.

Separately, Germany’s ZEW indicator of economic sentiment edged higher in February, suggesting market participants are still confident about the recovery in Europe’s biggest economy.

On the corporate front, Qwest Communications International Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!q/quotes/nls/q (Q 7.31, -0.11, -1.48%)  said it swung to a fourth-quarter loss from a profit in the year-earlier period.

Sirius XM Radio Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!siri/quotes/nls/siri (SIRI 1.74, -0.09, -4.92%)  is also scheduled to report quarterly results.

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext /quotes/comstock/13*!nyx/quotes/nls/nyx (NYX 38.43, -1.02, -2.59%)  reportedly plan to release a statement Tuesday regarding their merger negotiations and hold a press conference, Reuters said. Shares of NYSE Euronext were down over 4% in preopen trading after a temporary halt.

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

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