Futures little changed ahead of JPMorgan results

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of earnings from JPMorgan, the first big bank to report its quarterly scorecard as investors look for signs of weakness after a slowdown in the economy.

* Wall Street will pay more attention to JPMorgan forecasts, looking for clues on the direction of the U.S. lending business. Analysts expect the firm's earnings per share to rise to $1.21 in the second quarter from $1.09 a year ago.

* Also reporting results, Google is expected to report a rise in earnings per share to $0.71 from $0.68 a year earlier. Its newly released social networking service, dubbed Google+ will be in the spotlight.

* S&P 500 futures fell 1.1 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.5 points.

JP Morgan is going to set an opening tone for the financials, particularly should they disappoint, because it's considered by many the strongest and their inability to meet even lowered expectations could impact the whole sector, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management.

* After markets closed on Wednesday, ratings agency Moody's warned that the United States could lose its top credit rating if lawmakers fail to increase the country's borrowing limit, sending U.S. stock index futures sharply lower.

* Moody's said it would likely assign a negative outlook to the nation's gold-plated credit rating if a credible agreement with long-term deficit reduction measures was not achieved.

* President Barack Obama clashed with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday in a fierce White House meeting on deficit reduction that left a deal in question as the clock ticked toward a debt default.

* In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares fell 1 percent in early trade, on the back of Moody's warning on the credit rating of the United States.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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