MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indications: U.S. futures steady ahead of economic data

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. futures straddled the flat line Tuesday, as traders awaited a string of economic data including retail sales and manufacturing activity in the New York area.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11 points to 12,235 and S&P 500 futures were nearly unchanged at 1,328.50.

Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2 points to 2,383.70.

China inflation milder than expected

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

The economic calendar is very busy on Tuesday. Data on January retail sales and the Empire State manufacturing survey for February will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

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

Meanwhile, investors digested economic reports from Europe and Asia.

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.

And in the U.K., data showed that annual consumer price inflation rose to 4% in January, weighing on the British pound, which was recently at $1.6032 compared with $1.6093 before the data.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 78.42, -0.19, -0.25%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, dropped 0.2% to 78.453.

Gold futures rose $7.70 to $1,372.80 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex.

In Asia, stock markets ended mixed after the release of data showing that Chinese consumer inflation rose more slowly than expected in January.

On the corporate front, Qwest Communications International Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!q/quotes/nls/q (Q 7.42, +0.00, +0.01%)  and Sirius XM Radio Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!siri/quotes/nls/siri (SIRI 1.83, -0.01, -0.54%)  are scheduled to report quarterly results.

In premarket trading, shares of Barclays PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!bcs/quotes/nls/bcs (BCS 19.96, -0.23, -1.14%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:barc (UK:BARC 322.25, +11.50, +3.70%)  rose 3.5% after the banking giant reported earnings above market expectations.

Shares of Nokia Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!nok/quotes/nls/nok (NOK 8.84, -0.52, -5.56%)   /quotes/comstock/64h!e3:o-nok1v-eur (FI:NOK1V 6.70, +0.07, +0.98%)  gained 2.2% in premarket trading. The mobile-phone giant’s shares fell sharply in the previous two sessions after it announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 27.23, -0.02, -0.07%) .

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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