Stock rally set for pause after record run

U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a modestly lower open, following a run that's seen the S&P 500 set record highs for four consecutive sessions. The S&P has risen in nine of the past ten sessions, bringing its year-to-date gain to 23 percent. The Nasdaq is also on a winning run, and comes off its highest close since September 8, 2000.

Government reports out today include September import/export prices at 8:30 a.m. ET as well as the Energy Department's regular weekly look at oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET. The FHFA will also weigh in with its Housing Price Index for August at 9 a.m. ET.

The Mortgage Bankers Association will issue its weekly look at mortgage applications at 7 a.m. ET, with refinancing activity having been the primary drag in recent reports.

Dow components Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT) lead this morning's list of corporate earnings reports, while Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS), General Dynamics (GD), Eli Lilly (LLY), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Norfolk Southern (NSC), WellPoint Health (WLP), and Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) are also on this morning's schedule.

Netflix (NFLX) is among our stocks to watch, as investor Carl Icahn sells about half of his stake in the video service. Icahn still holds about 4.5 percent of Netflix, but decided to sell some shares after they more than quintupled since his original purchase at $58 per share.

Amgen (AMGN) reported third quarter profit of $1.94 per share, 17 cents above estimates, with revenue and its full-year earnings outlook above consensus as well. The biotech company's third quarter results were helped by a sizable U.S. government order.

Juniper Networks (JNPR) earned 33 cents per share for its third quarter, excluding certain items, two cents above estimates. The maker of networking equipment indicated its markets are improving after seeing weaker demand earlier this year.

Panera Bread (PNRA) beat estimates by 13 cents with third quarter profit of $1.48 per share, but the restaurant chain's revenue and its current quarter outlook fell below Street consensus. Comparable store sales at company-owned locations were up 1.7 percent for the quarter, below forecasts.

Cree (CREE) matched estimates with fiscal first quarter profit of 39 cents per share, but revenue and its current quarter forecast were below Street estimates. Cree's forecast is based on higher marketing expenses for its LED Light bulb.

Broadcom (BRCM) earned 76 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, seven cents above estimates. But its revenue forecast for the current quarter is below analyst forecasts, as the mobile chip maker faces increasing competition. Broadcom is also cutting expenses and a plan now underway will cut up to 1,150 jobs.

Apollo Group (APOL) earned 55 cents per share for its fourth quarter, well above estimates of 25 cents, with revenue topping estimates as well. The for-profit education provider, however, did issue a mixed outlook for the full year.

Altera (ALTR) reported third quarter profit of 37 cents per share, topping estimates by three cents. But the chipmaker's revenue was short of forecasts, as is its current quarter revenue projection. The programmable chipmaker is seeing fewer orders in the telecom and wireless markets.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is said to be close to a nearly $6 billion settlement with institutional investors over mortgage-backed securities, according to Reuters. This deal is separate from the tentative $13 billion settlement reached by the bank with the U.S. government.

Men's Wearhouse (MW) is investigating the possible purchase of shoe retailer Allen Edmonds, according to the Wall Street Journal. Men's Wearhouse recently spurned Jos. A. Bank's bid to buy it for $2.3 billion, calling that bid undervalued.