Stock Futures Trim Gains After U.S. Data
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring gains Friday as investors continued to monitor the U.S. "fiscal cliff" debates in Washington and after data showed a fall in domestic consumer spending and incomes unchanged.
One bright spot for the markets Friday was the approval of the Greek debt deal by German lawmakers.
The German Parliament on Friday gave the green light, by a vote of 473-100, for a deal assembled by European finance ministers earlier this week to reduce Greece's debt burden to 124% of GDP by 2020. The approval helps open the path to unlocking €44 billion in financial aid to Greece and helps prevent the country from sliding into bankruptcy and potentially leaving the eurozone.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 1 point, or 18.18 points above fair value, at 13,022. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.50 points, or 2.15 points above fair value, at 1416. Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 1 point, or 2.97 points above fair value, at 2681.
The major U.S. equity averages finished modestly higher Thursday despite the ongoing back-and-forth on Capitol Hill about the pace of U.S. budget talks.
House Speaker John Boehner threw cold water on the perception that momentum toward a compromise was picking up, bringing stocks off early-session highs. Boehner was quoted as saying there's been no "substantive" progress as yet in the ongoing bi-partisan negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to media reports.
"The fiscal cliff is such an acute issue with such a specific time horizon, investors must handicap its outcome," said Leo Kelly, managing director and partner at HighTower Kelly Wealth Management. "For an indication of the magnitude of the potential damage, one only needs to look at the Fed and its actions. Clearly the Fed is more concerned with the negative impact of non-action."
"The stakes are so high and voters are so frustrated that a deal must be done," he said. "While the outcome is uncertain, our belief is that the probability favors a resolution, at least a temporary resolution. Therefore, the market should continue to move in a relatively tight trading pattern until it believes it knows the outcome of negotiations on Capitol Hill. Once that uncertainty passes, we can then focus on fundamentals."
"We continue to believe that equity valuations are reasonable and that adding to equity cautiously and deliberately during periods of volatility will be a better decision that hiding out in treasuries at extraordinary low yields. Since the election we have been reducing our heavy cash position built in the summer moving slowly back into equity," said Kelly.
On the U.S. data front, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday that personal income was flat in October after rising 0.4% in September while personal spending fell 0.2% after increasing 0.8%; economists expected personal income to rise 0.2% and personal spending to be flat.