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U.S. Futures Advance; Spain, Earnings In Focus; Hot Stocks: (GS, JNJ, KO, USB, FRX, INTC, CMA)

 April 17, 2012 09:06 AM

(By Balachander) U.S. stock-index futures rose amid easing of Spanish bond yields and quarterly reports from a number of heavyweight corporate companies.

Mini Dow industrial average futures added 70.00 points to 12,920.00. The Nasdaq Futures gained 13.25 points to 2,677.00. Standard and Poor's 500 futures edged 8.40 points higher to 1,372.30.

On the economic front, U.S. housing starts declined 5.8 percent in March to 654,000 but building permits grew 1.1 percent to 747,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Economists expected housing starts of 700,000 and building permits of 713,000. In February, housing starts and building permits came in at 698,000 and 717,000, respectively.

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On the European front, yields on 10-year Spanish government bonds eased 6 percent after Spain sold 3.18 billion euros ($4.18 billion) in Treasury bills, above maximum planned target range of 2 billion euros to 3 billion euros. Another data showed that German economic sentiment unexpectedly improved to 23.4 in April from 22.3 in March, versus expectations of a drop to 19.0.

On Monday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note as lingering concerns around Spain's finances and slide in Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares offset stronger-than-forecast American retail sales data.

Hot Stocks Of The Day: (GS, JNJ, KO, USB, FRX, INTC, CMA)

In corporate news, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) reported a fall in revenue for the first quarter as investment banking revenue declined, dragging its shares 2.25 percent lower in premarket trading on Tuesday. The bank boosted its dividend by 31 percent.

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) shares inched 0.66 percent higher in premarket. The healthcare company delivered first-quarter earnings that came in above Street analysts' predictions, but revenues fell short of consensus. However, the company increased its full year 2012 earnings outlook.

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) advanced 0.61 percent in premarket. USB posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly earnings, spurred by net revenue growth and a lower provision for credit losses. EPS were 67 cents on revenue of $4.93 billion.

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) gained 1.06 percent in premarket after the food and beverage company posted 8 percent growth in profit for the first quarter topping analysts' estimates by a cent.

Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE:FRX) added 1.07 percent in premarket after the developer of branded forms of ethical drug products guided fiscal 2013 earnings above consensus estimates after posting better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter.

Comerica Inc. (NYSE:CMA) rose 4.67 percent in premarket. The bank reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by rise in net interest income. EPS of 66 cents topped estimates of 55 cents.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) are scheduled to report their quarterly numbers after the market closes.

Global Markets:

The European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX adding 1.06 percent to trade at 6,695.20. France's CAC40 gained 1.35 percent to 3,248.58. Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.77 percent to 5,710.15.
Asian markets ended on a mixed note. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.97 percent to end at $2,334.16. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.23 percent to close at 20,562.31. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.06 percent lower to close at 9,464.71. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,357.94, up 1.21 percent.

Market Scan:

Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil gained 0.99 percent to $103.95 per barrel. Gold rose 0.33 percent to $1,655.2 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro inched 0.02 percent lower against the U.S. dollar at 1.3140 while the British pound advanced 0.33 percent against the greenback to 1.5953. The dollar added 0.25 percent against the Japanese yen to 80.6100.



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