Futures Slightly Higher on Growth in GDP
Stock index futures traded flat to mixed Friday on a gain in gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2010, even though the 3.2 percent increase missed analyst expectations.
The government said the growth came mostly from consumer spending. Though the final number actually missed estimates of 3.5 percent, the market traded higher on the number on the strength of several internal indicators.
Microsoft unexpectedly reported earnings before the closing bell Thursday, with some analysts saying the numbers were disappointing when they delved into them, as sales Microsoft Windows came up short.
In other economic news, consumer sentiment will be released at 9:55 a.m and was forecast tp fall to 73.2 from 74.5 in December.
Initial jobless claims surged to 454,000 in the latest week, figures released on Thursday showed, rising to the highest level since late October and suggesting that any recovery in consumer spending will come in fits and starts.
Another slew of major earnings before the bell on Friday again offered a mixed bag.
Ford Motor shares sank after reporting earnings that fell shortof expectations, in part because of a loss in its European operations. Ford's operating profit 30 cents a missed forecasts for 48 cents a share by analysts.
Chevron fell slightly despite reporting a rise in fourth-quarter profits on higher oil prices and the sale of its ownership stake in a pipeline company.
And Honeywell also slipped despite meeting profit expectationsand boosting its 2011 outlook. The company also said it would sell its automotive and consumer products unit.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended U.S. policy at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday morning.
The gathering of business leaders continues on Friday.
In Davos, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told CNBC the bank does not need to raise fresh capital to comply with the new financial regulations, while the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said that his company is poised to grow organically, when asked about a rumor that it had been considering bidding for BP during the Gulf of Mexico crisis.