US Stock Futures Point To Higher Open Ahead of Corporate Earnings Reports

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Stock futures slightly higher after data
A Wall St. sign is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, February 6, 2012.

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Friday ahead of another round of quarterly earnings reports by major corporations.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.45 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.61 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.57 percent.

Investors are likely to continue focusing on earnings reports with General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD), Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE: KMB), Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) and SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI) expected to announce their quarterly results on Friday.

Shares of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) will be in focus after their quarterly earnings were reported late Thursday. IBM shares plunged 4.30 percent in the after-market trading as its first quarter profit declined and revenue fell short of analysts’ estimate.

U.S. stock markets ended on a negative note Thursday as sentiment was weighed down by weaker-than-expected economic reports and mixed corporate earnings reports. A report on initial jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey came in weaker than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.56 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.67 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 1.20 percent.

Data released by the Department of Labor showed that jobless claims, which measure the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time, increased by 4,000 to 352,000 last week, slightly above the Reuters' estimate of 350,000, while the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index declined to 1.3 in April from 2.0 in the prior month, when a reading of 3.0 was expected by analysts.

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) shares plunged 5.85 percent in regular trading Thursday as its second quarter earnings forecast fell short of estimates. Currently, the company expects second quarter adjusted net profit to be in a range of $0.61 to $0.63 per share on revenues of $3.80 billion to $3.90 billion, below analysts’ estimate of a net profit $0.66 per share on revenues of $3.95 billion

European stock markets were trading higher with Germany's DAX30 up 0.38 percent, France's CAC 40 gaining 0.63 percent and London's FTSE 100 advancing 0.28 percent.

Asian stock markets advanced Friday as commodity shares surged after plunging in the previous session. Japanese Nikkei gained 0.73 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 2.34 percent and Chinese Shanghai Composite surged 2.14 percent while South Korea’s KOSPI Composite gained 0.35 percent.

 

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