Citi, GE Help Futures Pare Losses
Stock futures pared losses but continued to indicate a flat to a bit lower open Friday despite slightly better-than-expected first-quarter earnings results from Dow components Citigroup and General Electric.
Citigroup reported a quarterly loss of 18 cents per share, less than the 34 cents per share loss analysts had expected.
GE (the parent company of CNBC) also reported a better-than-expected first quarter profit of 26 cents per share. The industrial giant narrowly missed expectations with quarterly revenue of $38.4 billion, down 9 percent.
Citi shares surged more than 16 percent while GE gained about 5 percent in premarket trading. Bank of America also gained on momentum from the Citi news, posting a gain of about 4 percent as the stock has quietly eclipsed the $10 mark this week, where it had not been since Jan. 14.
Dow and S&P 500 index futures were around breakeven, though the Nasdaq tech gauge was indicating a slightly lower open.
Also in Dow country, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson is scheduled to update the media on the automaker's restructuring later on Friday in the first series of updates designed to provide perspective on the company's situation. The news sent shares up 3 percent premarket.
After the closing bell on Thursday, Google'sfirst-quarter profit topped analysts' expectations, sending technology stocks higher globally on Friday. The company's stock edged lower premarket after gaining more than 2 percent Thursday.
The tech index gained an early boost Friday morning from Dryships , which surged nearly 12 percent a day after the carrier company said it raised $500 million in capital.
Hopes that the US economy may be recovering also gained traction after data on Thursday showed an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims and a slowing in factory activity contraction in the Philadelphia region.
There were mixed signals from US policymakers overnight, with the head of the Atlanta Fed, Dennis Lockhart, predicting a return to growth later this year, while the head of the San Francisco Fed, Janet Yellen, said she saw the potential for a deeper contraction, Reuters reported.
Preliminary April consumer sentiment data due later on Friday, could throw light on to whether the rate of contraction in the US economy is easing.
The University of Michigan will release its preliminary April consumer sentiment index at 9:55 am New York time. Economists in a Reuters poll expect a reading of 58.5 compared with 57.3 in the final March report.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in Washington at 12:30 pm New York time on innovative financial services for the underserved. And Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig will also be talking in the capital at 8.30 am.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration will meet with top credit card executives next Thursday to discuss transparency in the companies' lending practices and interest rates, Reuters reported.
Late Thursday, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide sued rival Hilton Hotels and two of its top executives for corporate espionage, Reuters reported.