In the U.S. : Stock Futures Little Changed Before Data

17 February 2012

Anticipatory tone to sound off today…U.S. data seems to outweigh Greek’s struggles in determining investor confidence.

U.S. stock-index futures advanced as investors awaited a report that may show the outlook for the world’s largest economy increased for a fourth month and as optimism mounted Greece will get a second rescue.

Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) rose in Germany after forecasting higher profit in the second quarter. Dell Inc. (DELL) slid after Robert W Baird. & Co. downgraded its recommendation on the shares.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March added 0.2 percent to 1,357.5 at 7:22 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge has advanced 1.2 percent this week as economic reports beat forecasts and 34 out of 49 companies reported better-than-estimated earnings. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures increased 39 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,909 today.

“The prospect for a negative surprise, clearly, is marginal,” said John Woods, the Hong Kong-based chief Asian strategist at Citigroup Inc. (C)’s private bank, referring to the Greek situation. “I suspect that a deal will get signed. The ramifications are quite catastrophic should that not happen,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators, which signals the outlook for three to six months, rose 0.5 percent in January after increasing 0.4 percent in December, according to estimates in a Bloomberg news survey. The report will be released at 10 a.m Washington time.

Another report may show the cost of living in the U.S. rose in January by the most since September, led by higher prices for food and energy. The consumer-price index climbed 0.3 percent after no change the prior month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Greek Bailout

Germany wants euro-area finance ministers to avoid splitting the 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) bailout for Greece from the planned bond swap with private creditors, officials from Europe’s largest economy told their country’s lawmakers.

The Eurogroup meeting on Feb. 20 will probably approve the package and the debt exchange, three German officials involved in the telephone briefing said yesterday.

Applied Materials, the largest producer of chipmaking equipment, rose 5.7 percent to $13.96 in Germany after predicting higher second-quarter profit than analysts estimated, signaling that semiconductor makers are pulling out of a spending slump.

Excluding certain costs, second-quarter profit will be 20 cents to 28 cents a share, the Santa Clara, California-based company said yesterday in a statement. Analysts had estimated 16 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) climbed 1 percent to $8.17 in Germany.

Bunge Ltd. (BG) advanced 1 percent to $66.93 in German trading. Bunge and Senwes Ltd. are considering building a plant to crush 660,000 tons of oilseeds a year in South Africa, the companies said.

HJ Heinz Co. added 2.1 percent to $53.21 in early trading in New York after it reported third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 95 cents, exceeding analyst estimates of 85 cents.

Dell dropped 0.7 percent to $18.20 in German trading after the stock was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” at Robert W Baird.


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