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Wall Street Set To See Subdued Activity


Wall Street may see subdued activity ahead of the extended weekend, with most traders likely to stay on the sidelines, given the lack of any major catalysts to propel the markets from the overbought levels. The index futures are pointing to a slightly lower opening on Friday. Asian stocks went about in a listless manner before closing mostly lower, while European stocks are also seeing weakness. Nevertheless, some key events, including the Moscow G20 meeting, some key earnings and domestic consumer sentiment and industrial output reports could create some ripple in the markets.

As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are down 17 points, the S&P 500 futures are slipping 2.20 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are receding 3 points.

U.S. stocks continued to consolidate on Thursday, as positive domestic data and deal news helped offset concerns triggered by weak GDP data reported by eurozone nations.

On the economic front, the New York Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the results of its manufacturing survey at 8:30 am ET. The general business conditions index based on the survey is expected to improve to -1.75 in February from -7.8 in January.

The Treasury is set to release data on the flow of financial instruments into and out of the U.S. at 9 am ET.

At 9:15 am ET, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its industrial production report for January. The consensus expectations call for a 0.3 percent increase in industrial output, while capacity utilization may have edged up slightly to 78.9 percent.

Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Sandra Pianalto will speak on the economy and monetary policy in Ft. Meyers, Florida at 9:50 am ET.

Reuters and the University of Michigan are set to release the results of its preliminary survey on consumer sentiment at 9:55 am ET. The consumer sentiment index may have improved to 75 in February from 73.8 in January.

In corporate news, Goldcorp. (GG) reported fourth quarter adjusted net earnings of 57 per share compared to 66 cents per share last year, while revenues came in at $1.4 billion. The earnings exceeded estimates, while the revenues missed expectations.

UPS (UPS) announced an 8.8 percent increase in its regularly quarterly dividend on its Class A and Class B shares. The company's board also authorized a share repurchase program for $10 billion.

Procter & Gamble (PG) updated its 2013 earnings guidance due to the Venezuelan government's decision to devalue its currency. The company lowered its core earnings per share guidance to $3.94-$4.04 from its previous estimate of $3.97-$4.07 per share. The March quarter core earnings guidance was also lowered to 91-97 cents per share.

Agilent Technologies' (A) first quarter results were below expectations, while the guidance was weak. Brocade (BRCD) reported first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 21 cents per share on revenues of $589 million. The results exceeded estimates.

CBS (CBS) reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 64 cents per share on revenues of $3.70 billion. The results trailed expectations. Separately, the company announced plans to repurchase $1 billion of its common stock in 2013.

PNC Financial (PNC) announced the appointment of William Demchak as president and CEO.

The major Asian markets closed mostly lower, tracking the lackluster mood on Wall Street overnight. Weak eurozone GDP data released on Thursday also weighed on stocks in the region. Traders remained cautious ahead of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet due in Moscow, given the likelihood that currency is likely to prominently feature in the talks. The Chinese and the Taiwanese markets remained closed for Lunar New Year holidays.

Japan's Nikkei 225 average closed down 133.45 points or 1.15 percent at 11,174. The yen firmed up amid speculation concerning prospective candidates for post of Governor of the Bank of Japan, weighing down on export stocks.

Australia's All Ordinaries closed down 2.60 points or 0.05 percent at 5,055. Material stocks experienced weakness in reaction to earnings report from Rio Tinto (RIO). Healthcare stocks also declined, while consumer staple and financial stocks gained ground. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 31.31 points or 0.57 percent at 23,445.

Revised estimates released by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's industrial output rose 2.4 percent month-over-month in December compared to the 2.5 percent increase estimated initially. Annually, industrial output was down 7.9 percent.

European stocks are seeing lackluster sentiment amid the release of some lackluster earnings and ahead of the G20 summit.

In corporate news, Commerzbank said it expects to set aside more provisions for loan losses in 2013 after reporting a loss of 716 million euros for its fourth quarter. Italian utility ENI reported lower profit for its fourth quarter. Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz reported sales growth of 5 percent for January.

On the economic front, U.K. retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, according to a report released by the U.K. Office for National Statistics. U.K. retail sales fell 0.6 percent month-over-month on top of a 0.3 percent drop in December. Economists expected a 0.5 percent increase.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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