MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures falter after CPI, jobs data

Stock Assault 2.0 - Artificial Intelligence Stock Market Software

By Kate Gibson and Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures fell Thursday after economic data had both the cost of living and the count of weekly filings for unemployment benefits rising more than anticipated.

Mildly lower ahead of the economic reports, stock-index futures fell further in their wake.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 12,290, +2.00, +0.02%)  were down 20 points at 12,232 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,338, -0.10, -0.01%)  fell 3.50 points to 1,329.5.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,395, +1.00, +0.04%)  dropped 5.5 points to 2,386.5.

S&P 500 doubles up from 2009 low

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index now stands at twice the level it was in March 2009, getting a Wednesday boost from earnings and economic data.

The consumer-price index rose 0.4% in January, the Labor Department said, with the data posing the possibility of higher food and fuel costs now translating into other goods and services.

“The inflation worm has turned at the consumer level and will continue to rise in 2011,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak.

Separately, the Labor Department reported first-time applications for jobless benefits increased by 25,000 to a total of 410,000 last week. See more on initial and continuing claims made with state employment offices.

U.S. markets rose on Wednesday, gaining after Federal Reserve officials lifted their forecast for economic growth in 2011 to a range of 3.4% to 3.9%, up from the previous forecast range of 3% to 3.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,318, +29.97, +0.24%)  closed up nearly 62 points.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will release its February survey of regional business activity after markets open.

Shares of data-storage technology company NetApp Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!ntap/quotes/nls/ntap (NTAP 54.77, -3.77, -6.44%)  dropped in premarket trading after ifourth-quarter earnings forecast disappointed investors. Read more on NetApp's results.

Technology giant Apple Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!aapl/quotes/nls/aapl (AAPL 358.30, -4.83, -1.33%)  slipped, giving back some of the 13% rise the stock has achieved since the start of the year. Several online media outlets reported that Steve Jobs, taking a medical leave of absence as chief executive, has been seen at a cancer center in California.

Shares of chip maker Nvidia Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!nvda/quotes/nls/nvda (NVDA 25.68, +2.30, +9.84%)  fell in premarket trade after it reported fourth-quarter results late Wednesday.

Shares of natural-gas group Williams Cos. /quotes/comstock/13*!wmb/quotes/nls/wmb (WMB 30.08, +2.32, +8.36%) , on the other hand, are expected to surge after the group’s board approved a plan to spin off its exploration and production business.

Other stocks that are likely to see active trading Thursday include Apache Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!apa/quotes/nls/apa (APA 120.62, +0.11, +0.09%) , following fourth-quarter financial results reported by the energy independent, and PG&E Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!pcg/quotes/nls/pcg (PCG 45.56, -0.44, -0.96%) , which is seen reporting a profit of 72 cents a share.

European stock markets were broadly flat in late morning trading after a mixed set of earnings results from the likes of Pernod Ricard SA /quotes/comstock/24s!e:ri (FR:RI 67.61, -3.02, -4.28%) , BAE Systems PLC /quotes/comstock/23s!a:ba. (UK:BA. 340.90, -14.80, -4.16%)  and Nestle SA /quotes/comstock/06p!nesn (CH:NESN 52.90, +0.45, +0.86%)   /quotes/comstock/11i!nsrgy (NSRGY 55.73, +1.01, +1.85%) /quotes/comstock/11i!nsrgy (NSRGY 55.73, +1.01, +1.85%)

Most Asian markets ended the day with small gains. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 Average /quotes/comstock/64e!i:ni225 (JP:NI225 10,849, +12.66, +0.12%)  closed up 0.3%.

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York. Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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