US Stock Index Futures Advance; Microsoft In Focus

on April 20 2012 7:17 AM
Dow Jones Industrial Average

Futures on major US indices point to a higher opening Friday as investors awaited the earnings from major firms including General Electric Co. and McDonald's.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.58 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.57 percent and Nasdaq-100 futures are up 0.0.55 percent.

As no major economic data are due to be released Friday, investors are likely to focus on earnings reports. A string of companies including General Electric Co, McDonald's, Schlumberger and Honeywell International Inc will report their quarterly earnings before the opening bell.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect General Electric to earn $0.33 share on revenue of $34.66 billion while McDonald is projected to report a profit of $1.23 a share on revenue of $6.54 billion.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will be in focus as late Thursday the software maker reported third quarter earnings above estimates. The company reported third quarter net income of $5.11 billion or $0.60 per share compared to $5.23 billion or $0.61 per share in the same period last year and above the analysts' estimation of $0.58 per share.

On Thursday, U.S. stock ended lower for the second day as batch of disappointing economic readings on housing, jobless claims and manufacturing data intensified concerns over the economic recovery in the world's biggest economy.

European market advanced Friday, led by gains from banking sector shares. Markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 13.51 points, DAX30 up by 59.87 points and CAC40 up by 16.42 points.

Meanwhile, the business confidence in Germany unexpectedly increased in April, indicating that the largest Eurozone economy is continuing to withstand the pressures of looming debt crisis in Eurozone. According to Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Germany's business climate index, which is based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 109.9 from 109.8 in March.