Stock index futures slip; earnings, data eyed

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street on Friday, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq all down around 0.2 percent by 0819 GMT.

* Corporate earnings are expected to dominate the trading session, with some caution prevailing over the strength of U.S. corporate earnings this season.

* Shares in technology firm Google fell more than 5 percent in extended trading on Thursday as the firm reported a surge in spending in the first quarter.

* Banks will be in the spotlight as Bank of America reports quarterly earnings, with analysts expecting the lender to post a 9 percent drop in first-quarter profit.

* Consumer price data for March will be eyed at 1230 GMT for an indication of the effect of energy and food prices on inflation numbers. Although core inflation figures are expected to record the same gain as in February, up 0.2 percent, any move higher could put pressure on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

* In China, inflation jumped to a 32-month high, reinforcing the view that the government will have to do more to rein in prices.

* Other data scheduled for release include the New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing index for April at 1230 GMT and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report at 1355 GMT.

* Stocks on the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500

pared earlier falls to eke out marginal gains at the close on Thursday, with concerns about faltering growth and inflation prompting investors to seek out less volatile names.

* In company news, the U.S. securities regulator is in talks with Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS, to settle fraud allegations relating to the sale of toxic mortgage bonds, the Wall Street Journal reported.

* Ford Motor Co will bring 15 new vehicles to China by 2015, its China chief said on Friday, as it accelerates expansion in the world's largest auto market.

* Groupon is likely to pick Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead a second-half initial public offering that could value the fast-growing daily deals site at $15 billion to $20 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

* Transocean Ltd, the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, has pulled three rigs off the market due to lack of demand, while putting two older shallow-water rigs up for sale.

* Chrysler Group LLC is close to launching a debt refinancing package to repay its U.S. and Canadian government loans and has selected four banks to lead the deal, people familiar with the matter said.

* In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was flat in early trade, with financials featuring among the top decliners as concerns about the euro zone debt crisis resurfaced after Moody's cut Ireland's sovereign rating by two notches.

(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal, Editing by Mark Potter)

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