Stocks Inch Higher Ahead of U.S. Growth Data
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a mixed open early Friday after an advance read on first-quarter gross domestic product came in weaker than expected.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 8 points, or 11 points below fair value, at 13,168. Futures for the S&P 500 were up less than a point at 1400, and futures for the Nasdaq were ticking nearly 11 points higher, or slightly below fair value, at 2731.
The major U.S. equity indices finished with respectable gains on Thursday as data showing progress in the housing market offset a handful of high-profile earnings misses and another disappointing read on weekly initial jobless claims. The Dow gained for a third straight session Thursday.
On Friday, the Department of Commerce reported a disappointing advance gross domestic product growth estimate of 2.2% for the first quarter, a slip from the 3% expansion reported for the fourth quarter. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters , on average, expected growth of 2.5%. P/>Still, the disappointing numbers may fueled hopes that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has more ammunition to push for another round of quantitative easing.
The final University of Michigan read on consumer sentiment is also to be revealed Friday. It's likely to remain steady at 75.7, according to a Thomson Reuters survey of economists. The report comes out at 9:55 a.m.
In Europe, London's FTSE was up 0.2% and Germany's DAX was flat after Spain's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.33% and Japan's Nikkei Average closed 0.43% lower.
Earnings will be another big driver for the market's direction on Friday as reports continued to pour in from high-profile companies.
Ahead of the open, U.S. automaker Ford (F) reported earnings of $1.4 billion, or 35 cents a share, on revenue of $32.4 billion, down 2% from a year earlier. Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 39 cents a share.
The results beat the average expected earnings of 35 cents a share on revenue of $31.5 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters poll, promoting shares to edge up 0.5% in premarket trading.
Shares of the world's largest coffee-shop chain were also selling off in premarket trading Friday, sliding nearly 5%. Starbucks said fiscal second-quarter profit rose 18% and it raised its forecast for the year.
Starbucks said global same-store sales rose 7% in the period. Same-store sales in China and the Asia Pacific jumped 18%. Sales rose 8% in the Americas, but fell 1% in the region encompassing Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa.