In the U.S.: U.S. Futures Little Changed Before GDP Report

27 January 2012

Stock jocks may continue to enjoy the January ride…67% of companies that have reported (from the S&P 500) have topped estimates as well.

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed as investors awaited a report that may show the world’s largest economy expanded in the fourth quarter at the fastest pace of 2011.

Ford Motor Co. (F) slid 4.5 percent in pre-market New York trading after reporting earnings that missed estimates. Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) declined 8.7 percent as it projected sales and profit that missed estimates. Chevron Corp. (CVX) advanced before reporting quarterly results.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in March rose 0.1 percent to 1,316.4 at 7:19 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge has advanced 0.2 percent this week as theFederal Reserve signaled low interest rates through at least late 2014. March contracts on theDow Jones Industrial Average gained 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,697 today.

‘We’re in a sweet spot for stocks, said Witold Bahrke, a senior strategist at PFA Pension A/S in Copenhagen, which manages about $45 billion. ‘The economy is improving, inflation is low and central banks are easing monetary policies accordingly, while systemic risks are abating.’

U.S. gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, grew at a 3 percent annual pace after advancing 1.8 percent in the previous three months, according to the median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, may have climbed 2.4 percent, the survey showed.

GDP Data

The Commerce Department’s GDP report, due at 8:30 a.m. in Washington, marks the first of three for the quarter, with other releases scheduled in February and March when more information becomes available.

Ford sank 4.5 percent to $12.22 in pre-market trading. The automaker reported fourth-quarter profit, excluding one-time costs, of 20 cents a share, trailing the 25-cent average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Juniper tumbled 8.3 percent to $20.51 in early New York trading. The second-largest maker of computer-networking equipment forecast first-quarter sales and profit that missed estimates, a sign that Internet providers are limiting spending amid sluggish economic growth.

Profit before certain items will be 11 cents to 14 cents a share, Sunnyvale, California-based Juniper said. Sales will be $960 million to $990 million. That compared with average analysts’ estimates for 27 cents in profit and sales of $1.1 billion, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, gained 0.5 percent to $107.13 before releasing earnings.

Sixty-seven percent of the 157 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results since Jan. 9 have topped analysts estimates for per-share profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge is trading at 12.6 times projected earnings, compared with a valuation of 11.2 in August, Bloomberg data show.


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