Stock index futures were little changed on Friday after General Electric Co's and Bank of America's profits topped expectations but revenues declined, underscoring corporate America's struggles against headwinds in the economic recovery.
The three major indexes have risen seven out of the past eight sessions despite some earnings missteps, including from technology giant Google Inc , which reported adjusted earnings late Thursday that missed expectations for the first time in two years.
While both GE and Bank of America Corp reported better-than-expected profits, the Dow components dropped in premarket trading as both posted revenue declines. Bank of America's profit was also lower, sending the stock 4.5 percent lower to $14.69. GE sank 2 percent to $14.95.
Bank of America looks to be a bit of a disappointment but nevertheless the overall trend for stocks remains high, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
Investors will wait until conference calls to digest what the numbers mean, considering that guidance is the key here. It will show how corporate America performs in this slow growth environment, he said.
S&P 500 futures fell 0.5 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 gained 7 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 2.5 points.
Citigroup Inc reported a 37 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by lower investment banking revenue. The stock fell 2.2 percent to $4.07.
Investors closely watched the earnings scorecards for insight into how corporations are faring as the economy fights headwinds in its recovery.
Financials will be in focus after the results from BofA and Citi and after Goldman Sachs Group Inc agreed to settle a U.S. civil case. The stock rose 4.6 percent to $151.85 before the bell.
Data coming later Friday will provide insight into consumer sentiment and the threat of deflation.
The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is expected to show that sentiment edged slightly lower to 74.5 in July from June's reading of 76. In addition, June consumer prices, excluding food and energy, are seen rising 0.1 percent, the same as in May.
Mark Luschini, the chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, expects the CPI data to be exceedingly weak.
It could suggest that deflation is a real risk, and that might be enough to trump even the better than expected earnings from these major companies.
U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc slid 1.1 percent to $38.45 before the bell even as it said it had halted the spew of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, at least temporarily.
Stress tests on European banks should not reveal any catastrophes but the reviews should be tough, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers was quoted as saying.
The U.S. Congress approved the broadest overhaul of financial rules since the Great Depression on Thursday and sent it to U.S. President Barack Obama to sign into law.
European stocks were flat on Friday as the U.S. earnings offset strength in BP's London-listed shares. Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> ended down nearly 3 percent as investors worried the yen could rise further toward 15-year highs against the dollar.
U.S. stocks were lower for most of Thursday's session, though they later rebounded after the Goldman settlement and BP's success with its well.
(Additional reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)