Wall Street's resolve seem to be crumbling in the face of evidence that the Greece may face more hurdles in implementing the austerity measures required to avail additional financing. The focus now shifts to the results of a consumer sentiment survey due to be released shortly after the markets open. The overbought levels of the markets tilt the scales in favor of the bears, although any positive news on Greece could keep the momentum going.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are receding 60 points, the S&P 500 futures are moving down 7.80 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are slipping 11 points.
U.S. stocks went about the same routine on Thursday as in the previous session, seeing some indecision and volatility in the morning before firming up amid caution in the afternoon.
On the economic front, the trade gap data for December is due out at 8:30 am ET. Economists estimate that the trade gap remained unchanged at $47.8 billion in the month.
The preliminary report of the Reuters and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey for February is scheduled to be released at 9.55 am ET. The consumer sentiment index is expected to edge down to 74.3 from January's 75.
Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak to the 2012 National Association of Homebuilders International Builders' Show on "Housing Markets In Transition" and will take questions from the audience, in Orlando at 12:30 pm ET.
Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Sandra Pianalto will speak to the Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland Annual Luncheon on "Creating Value in Distressed Neighborhoods at 12:50 pm ET.
The Treasury Budget, a monthly account of the surplus or deficit of the federal government, is due to be released at 2 PM ET. Economists expect a deficit of $50.1 billion for January compared to a deficit of $86 billion for December.
In corporate news, NYSE Euronext (NYX) reported fourth quarter earnings and revenues that were better than expectations.
International Game Technology (IGT) announced the resignation of CFO Pat Cavanaugh and the appointment of John Vandermore to the role of CFO, effective February 13, 2012. Lam Research (LRCX) announced the appointment of Martin Anstice as its president and CEO.
UPS (UPS) announced a 9.6 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 57 cents per share. Lear Corp. (LEA) said its board has approved a 12 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to 14 cents per share.
Republic Services' (RSG) fourth quarter results were ahead of estimates, while its earnings guidance surrounded the consensus estimates.
LinkedIn (LNKD) reported better than expected fourth quarter results.
Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) fourth quarter earnings and revenues exceeded estimates, while its first quarter guidance was soft.
Among insurers, Protective's (PL) fourth quarter earnings exceeded estimates, XL's (XL) bottom line results were below estimates.
Expedia's (EXPE) fourth quarter adjusted earnings remained flat at 58 cents per share, while revenues rose 7 percent to $787.13 million. The earnings exceeded estimates, while revenues trailed expectations.
Halozyme (HALO) announced that it would sell 6.8 million shares in a public offering.
The major Asian markets retreated as optimism over the deal struck by Greece paled before fears that the Mediterranean nation may face resistance to implement reforms. Japan's Nikkei 225 average ended 55.07 points or 0.61 percent lower at 8,947.
Australia's All Ordinaries lost 34.50 points or 0.79 percent before closing at 4,323 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended down 226.15 points or 1.08 percent at 20,784. Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up 2.30 points or 0.10 percent to 2,352.
China reported a trade surplus of $27.3 billion compared to a surplus of $16.5 in December, as imports plunged due to weak domestic demand in the new year holiday shortened month.
European stocks are declining amid concerns about Greece despite Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Barclays (BCS) coming out with positive tidings.
by RTT Staff Writer
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