MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, February 11, 2011

Indications: U.S. stock futures slip; Expedia, Nokia tumble

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By Barbara Kollmeyer and Kate Gibson, MarketWatch

A previous version of this story gave the incorrect time for the release of consumer-sentiment data. The story has been corrected.

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures were pointing to a softer start for Wall Street Friday, as investors’ jitters over instability in Egypt returned, while shares of Nokia Corp. fell sharply in premarket trade in the wake of a partnership with Microsoft Corp.

Futures fell, but pared earlier losses. Those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\h11 (DJH11 12,215, +21.00, +0.17%)  lately declined 29 points to 12,165, while those for the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\h11 (SPH11 1,323, +4.50, +0.34%)   fell 3.7 points to 1,315.10.

Futures for the Nasdaq 100 /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\h11 (NDH11 2,367, +5.25, +0.22%)   slipped 3.75 points to 2,358

Asia's week ahead

Japanese economic data, China's monthly inflation figures and BHP Billiton's interim results will likely take center stage in Asia next week.

On Thursday, the Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 12,245, +15.97, +0.13%)  snapped its longest winning streak since March 18, although it rebounded from session lows to close down 10.60 points, or 0.1%, to 12,229.29.

The S&P 500 /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,326, +4.08, +0.31%)  and Nasdaq Composite /quotes/comstock/10y!i:comp (COMP 2,800, +9.14, +0.33%) finished marginally higher.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an address Thursday that he would delegate some powers to his vice president, but he refused to step down immediately as protesters have been demanding. Some media outlets reported Friday that the Egyptian military has said it will support Mubarak’s decision not to resign as more protesters amassed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Observers said markets are likely to remain cautious ahead of the weekend amid the situation in Egypt.

“The protesters were clearly not placated by Mubarak’s actions, with intelligence firm Stratfor forecasting that the most likely course of events from here is a military coup to remove the embattled president,” said Ilya Spivak, currency strategist with Daily FX. “Markets have clearly taken notice of the tense environment.”

Crude-oil futures for March delivery rose 6 cents to $86.79 a barrel, and the dollar rose across the board. Gold futures for April delivery gained $4.00 to $1,366.50 an ounce.

Renewed risk aversion pushed South Korean and Taiwanese stocks lower overnight, although Hong Kong shares rebounded from a four-day decline as energy stocks rose in tandem with crude prices. Stocks in Europe were largely weaker. See Asia Markets. | Europe Markets.

In premarket action Friday, shares of Expedia Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!expe/quotes/nls/expe (EXPE 21.24, -4.45, -17.32%)  tumbled 14% after the online travel company posted a lower fourth-quarter profit late Thursday.

Shares of Nokia /quotes/comstock/13*!nok/quotes/nls/nok (NOK 9.42, -1.46, -13.42%)  fell 9.5% in preopen trade after the company announced plans to use Microsoft’s /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 27.25, -0.25, -0.91%)  mobile operating system for its smartphones. See more about Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft.

Shares of Panera Bread Co. /quotes/comstock/15*!pnra/quotes/nls/pnra (PNRA 115.14, +15.43, +15.47%)  rose 8.3% in early action after the company reported an increase in fourth-quarter profit and lifted its 2011 forecast late Thursday.

Among other stocks that could be in focus for Friday, Kraft Foods Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!kft/quotes/nls/kft (KFT 30.54, -0.58, -1.85%)  said after the closing bell Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit fell 24%. Read more about Kraft’s results.

French oil giant Total SA /quotes/comstock/13*!tot/quotes/nls/tot (TOT 58.81, -0.33, -0.56%)  said adjusted fourth-quarter profit rose 23%, helped by higher oil prices and production. The figure was in line with forecasts. Read more about Total’s results.

Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 16.40, +0.45, +2.82%)  said it will cut its debt load by another $3 billion. Read more about Ford’s plan.

RealNetworks Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!rnwk/quotes/nls/rnwk (RNWK 4.02, +0.12, +3.08%)  said it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $1.2 million from a year-earlier loss of $17.8 million.

On the data front, the U.S. trade deficit widened by 5.9% in December to $40.6 billion, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was below the economists’ consensus forecast for a deficit of $42.0 billion. Read more about the trade gap.

Meanwhile, consumer-sentiment data for February are expected after the opening bell.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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