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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures point lower; Cisco set to fall

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By Simon Kennedy, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures pointed lower Thursday after heavy losses for many Asian and European markets and as investors awaited earnings from the likes of Kraft Foods Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 12,161, -46.00, -0.38%)  dropped 50 points to 12,157.00 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,312, -7.10, -0.54%)  were down 7.70 points at 1,311.50.

Futures on the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,343, -19.75, -0.84%)  fell 22.25 points to 2,340.00, with shares in Cisco Systems Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!csco/quotes/nls/csco (CSCO 22.04, +0.05, +0.23%)  slumping nearly 8% in premarket trading after the networking giant’s outlook and margins disappointed investors.

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U.S. stocks ended the day mixed on Wednesday as a late rally pushed the Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,240, +6.74, +0.06%)   into positive territory, while downbeat comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke weighed on other indexes.

European stock markets were lower across the board Thursday, with banks leading the fall. Spain’s IBEX 35 index was the worst performer, losing around 2%.

Asian markets also closed mostly lower, including a 2.1% drop for the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong on worries about Chinese policy tightening, with energy stocks among the most heavily sold.

Investors await weekly jobless claims data, due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, with economists expecting claims to dip slightly to 410,000 from 415,000.

The dollar strengthened, rising 0.4% against the yen to ¥82.68, while the euro dropped 0.6% to $1.3642.

Among other stocks in focus, shares in Whole Foods Market Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!wfmi/quotes/nls/wfmi (WFMI 53.75, +0.84, +1.59%)  rose nearly 10% in premarket trading after the grocer lifted its 2011 forecasts for profit and sales.

In other news, executives at Google Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 616.50, -1.88, -0.30%) , Facebook Inc. and other firms have held low-level talks with Twitter Inc. over a possible acquisition, with some potential suitors valuing the business in the neighborhood of $8 billion to $10 billion, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of Credit Suisse Group AG /quotes/comstock/13*!cs/quotes/nls/cs (CS 46.64, -0.19, -0.41%)   /quotes/comstock/06p!csgn-otc (CH:CSGN 42.88, -1.82, -4.07%)  slumped 4.1% in Swiss trading, leading European banks lower after the group cut a key profitability target, saying tougher capital requirements globally are changing the trading environment for all banks.

Other companies that may see active trading Thursday include Kraft Foods /quotes/comstock/13*!kft/quotes/nls/kft (KFT 31.24, +0.11, +0.35%) , which is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings of 47 cents a share, and Sprint Nextel /quotes/comstock/13*!s/quotes/nls/s (S 4.35, +0.04, +0.93%) , which is seen reporting a loss of 30 cents a share.

PepsiCo Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!pep/quotes/nls/pep (PEP 64.42, +0.25, +0.39%)  is also due to report its latest results, with analysts on average forecasting a profit of $1.04 a share.

Simon Kennedy is the City correspondent for MarketWatch in London.

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