Stock Futures Edge Lower Before Earnings

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The FINANCIAL — U.S. stock index futures traded flat to slightly lower Monday, with investors gearing up for another heavy week of corporate-earnings results that will be capped on Friday by the release of the all-important April jobs data.


According to Borsa Italiana – London Stock Exchange Group, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11 points, or 0.1%, to 13,153.

S&P 500 Index futures lost 2.3 points to 1,396.20, while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 4 points to 2,732.75.

Wall Street ended last week on a positive note, with the S&P 500 finishing above the 1,400 level for the first time since April 3. The Nasdaq Composite Index saw a weekly rise of 2.3%, finishing at 3,069.20 after Friday's gain of 18.59 points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 23.69 points Friday to close at 13,228.31.

European shares edged lower in choppy trade after first-quarter data confirmed Spain fell back into recession and ratings firm Standard & Poor's downgraded some of the country's largest banks. The Stoxx 600 Europe index fell 0.2% to 258.55.

Analysts said a further round of mostly positive earnings data helped fuel Friday's Wall Street gains. Meanwhile, data on Friday showed gross domestic product expanded at a weaker-than-expected pace in the first quarter but did little to dent gains.

"Weaker-than-expected U.S. growth data had got investors chattering about another round of quantitative easing. The effectiveness this time round is debatable" but the speculation has provided support, Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor in London, said in emailed comments.

Earnings so far have been upbeat. Of the 269 S&P 500 companies that reported through the end of last week, 78% topped consensus Wall Street estimates, according to FactSet Research. That compares with an average of 72% over the previous four quarters.

This week will see 126 S&P 500 companies report, according to Deutsche Bank.

Companies expected to report earnings ahead of the opening bell on Monday include Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) Humana Inc. (HUM), and Harman International Industries Inc. (HAR).

March data on personal income and consumer spending are set for release at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The Chicago-area purchasing managers' index is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. EDT.

Consumer spending is expected to show a 0.3% March rise, while personal income is expected to increase by 0.2%, according to a survey of economists by MarketWatch. Consumer spending accounts for around 70% of U.S. economic activity.

Nymex crude oil futures fell 52 cents to $104.41 a barrel in electronic trade.

Gold futures dropped $1.30 to trade at $1,663.50 an ounce.

The ICE dollar index, which measures the greenback against a weighted basket of six other currencies, traded at 78.787, up from 78.733 in late North American trading on Friday.

The euro slipped to $1.3224 against the greenback, down from $1.3252. Against the Japanese yen , the dollar traded at Y80.18, down from Y80.38.



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