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Futures Inch Higher After Obama Speech; Comcast (CMCSA) Jumps

 February 13, 2013 09:18 AM

(By Balaseshan) U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher opening on the Wall Street after the President Barack Obama's State of the Union address highlighted proposed spending on infrastructure and environmental projects.

Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 21 points to 13,994. The Nasdaq futures advanced 6.75 points to 2,767.50. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 2.90 points to 1,519.10.

Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday and the President proposed spending on infrastructure and environmental projects. Obama presented a proposal to raise the national minimum wage to $9 an hour and urged a resolution to the "sequester" or automatic spending cuts that will take effect in just two weeks.

[Related -General Electric Company (GE) Q4 Earnings Preview: Feeling The January Effect]

"The State of the Union address by the president should not be impactful to the markets," an analyst in the Reuters report had said.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported January retail sales and core retail sales rose 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Core sales topped economists expectations of a 0.1 percent rise, while retail sales came in line. Core retail sales measures the change in the total value of sales at the retail level in the U.S., excluding automobiles.

A government data showed that import prices unexpectedly rose 0.6 percent in January after a revised 0.5 percent fall in December, while economists expected a gain of 0.7 percent. Export prices also added 0.3 percent after a 0.1 percent decline in November.

[Related -Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE:RAX): Faces An Uphill Battle Amid Rising Competition]

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Hot Stocks Of The Day: GE, CMCSA, CMCSK, DE, DF, WU, CLF, RAX

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) gained 4.03 percent and Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) surged 7.90 percent in premarket. GE has agreed to sell its balance 49 percent common equity interest in the NBCUniversal joint venture and related assets to Comcast for about $18.1 billion.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSK) soared 7.77 percent after the company posted a 18 percent increase in quarterly earnings on higher broadcast business growth and a rise in internet services. The company also lifted its dividend by 20 percent and plans to repurchase $2.0 billion of its stock this year.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) posted a 22 percent jump in quarterly earnings on higher sales of agriculture machines and equipment operations. Results exceeded Street's expectations.

Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) swung to a quarterly profit on strong sales growth at WhiteWave-Alpro segment and higher commodity costs at Fresh Dairy Direct. Results exceeded Street's expectations.

Western Union Co. (NYSE: WU) fell 3.49 percent in premarket after the global payment services provider posted a 47 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to higher costs and expenses as well as a decline in consumer-to-consumer revenue. However, results exceeded Street's expectations.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) plunged 12.73 percent in premarket after the iron ore producer have slipped to a quarterly loss due hefty charges. In addition, the company slashed its quarterly dividend by 76 percent.

Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) dropped 11.07 percent in premarket after the company posted lower than expected fourth quarter results.

Global Markets

European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX up 0.63 percent to trade at 7,708.36. France's CAC40 added 0.25 percent to trade at 3,695.82. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.10 percent to trade at 6,344.57.

Asia markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.57 percent to end at $2,432.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.16 percent to close at 23,215.16. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 1.04 percent to end at 11,251.41. India's Sensex closed at 19,608.08, up 0.24 percent.

Commodity & Currency Scan

Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures traded 0.34 percent higher at $97.84 per barrel. Gold futures inched 0.24 percent lower to $1,647.39 per ounce.

In the currency market, the euro rose 0.19 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.3479, while the British pound fell 0.64 percent to 1.5563. The dollar slid 0.04 percent against the Japanese yen at 93.4400.

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